the midwife

REVIEW BY ROBYN KILROY

These days, in the world of cinema, I personally have found it harder and harder to find dramas that truly grip me emotionally. I’m unsure as to whether this is my fault; that perhaps my ever-growing apathy is destroying my ability to become emotionally involved in cinema, or that maybe directors of the modern drama have just missed the mark for me. However, after attending the press screening of French director Martin Provost’s latest film The Midwife (Sage Femme), I found myself feeling empathetic and emotional (in public!) after watching this tale of two completely different women and their unusual friendship.

Provost’s film shows the life of Claire (Catherine Frot), the titular midwife working in a maternity hospital that’s closing down. It’s clear that she’s good at her job as we watch her at the beginning of the film helping mothers to give birth one after another. However, her diligent nature results in her being uptight about life. This is brought out in full force when Beatrice (Catherine Deneuve), an ex-girlfriend of Claire’s late father re-enters her life. Beatrice, a spontaneous and care-free woman is the complete polar-opposite to Claire. She drinks and smokes despite the fact that she is suffering from a brain tumour. Despite these two women being completely different, they form a strange and entertaining relationship. Claire being a carer by nature and profession helps Beatrice after her operation. In return, Beatrice brings Claire out of her shell; by dying, Beatrice is helping Claire to live. It was this relationship between these two women who grow to love each other despite their differences is what struck a chord with me.

Besides the personal relationship between the two main characters, another element of this film that I found enchanting is the scenes of nature. Claire owns a plot in what seems to be a communal farming area by the river Seine. In these scenes, we see moments of stillness and peacefulness that the characters become immersed in. These moments allow Claire and Beatrice to escape from their problems of everyday life.

Overall, as someone who struggles enjoy dramas, I was pleasantly surprised by this heart-warming film that explores relatable human experiences such as loss, resentment and repentance. I highly recommend this film as I guarantee that all kinds of people relate and take away something from it. The Midwife is now screening in selected Irish cinemas.