May Fools

Watch May Fools

  • R
  • 1990
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 7.2  (3,385)

May Fools is a 1990 French film directed by Louis Malle, starring Miou-Miou, Michel Piccoli, Michel Duchaussoy and others. Set in May 1968 in rural France, the film tells the story of a wealthy family who gather at their country estate to celebrate the birthday of the matriarch, Mme. Vieuzac. The film begins with a voiceover narration from Milou, the rebellious daughter of the Vieuzac family. Milou has recently returned from Paris, where she has been involved in the student protests and is still passionately committed to the revolutionary ideals of the time. As she drives towards the family estate, she describes the turmoil of the May 1968 events, which marked a turning point in French society and culture.

Upon arriving at the estate, Milou is reunited with her family members. Her conservative father, his mistress, her eccentric aunt, and her two brothers are all present. The family’s political and social status quo is quickly established, with strict class distinctions and oppressive gender roles at the forefront.

As the family prepares for Mme. Vieuzac’s birthday celebration, tensions rise and secrets are revealed. The family’s finances are not as stable as they seem, and both the patriarch and his mistress have hidden agendas. Milou’s brother, who is a veterinarian, is secretly treating a cow with foot-and-mouth disease, which threatens to ruin the family’s reputation and finances. Milou’s aunt, a former actress, has a mysterious past, and her presence adds to the family’s sense of unease.

Despite the family’s turmoil, the birthday celebrations begin as planned, with the guests arriving in their Sunday best. A group of local peasants, who have also been invited to the celebration, provide a contrast to the wealthy family’s excesses.

As the night progresses, the family dynamics become increasingly strained. Milou clashes with her father over his archaic attitudes towards women and social justice. Meanwhile, her aunt reveals that she has fallen in love with a younger man, causing a scandal amongst the conservative family members.

As the evening draws to a close, an unexpected event occurs that brings the family together in a way they never anticipated. In the aftermath, the family must confront their innermost secrets and desires and work to repair the damage that has been done.

May Fools is a complex and multi-layered film that explores a range of social, political and emotional issues. Set against the backdrop of the May 1968 events, the film presents a portrait of a French family and society at a crucial moment in their history. The film’s themes of class, gender, family dynamics and political upheaval are explored through the lens of the Vieuzac family’s experiences and relationships.

Throughout the film, Malle employs a variety of cinematic techniques to create a sense of both intimacy and detachment. The voiceover narration by Milou provides a personal perspective on the events, while the elegant framing and sophisticated camera work convey a sense of understated elegance and distance. The film’s soundtrack, which features French pop songs from the 1960s, adds to the nostalgic atmosphere of the film.

Overall, May Fools is a significant film from the late Louis Malle, who is known for his documentaries and feature films that explore the complexities of human relationships and society. The film’s powerful performances and intricate storytelling make it a thoughtful and engaging examination of a pivotal moment in French history and society.

May Fools
May Fools doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (3,385)