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"The Midwife"

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September 10, 2017

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Sunday, Sept. 10 at 2:00 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

"The Midwife" (France, drama, 117 minutes, unrated) Claire, a midwife working at a struggling clinic in Paris (Catherine Frot, of “Marguerite”), undergoes a midlife crisis. It’s made worse – but more entertaining – by the unexpected reappearance of her father’s old mistress, a hard-drinking mess dealing with brain cancer (Catherine Deneuve). “Claire needs to be saved from herself, and according to the movie’s logic, the only thing that can do that is a vulgar, drunk, broken-down figure from her past — played, with full-tilt disheveled life force, by Catherine Deneuve.… The illness doesn’t stop [the character] from drinking through the afternoons and chowing down on the biggest cuts of prime rib she can order, and Deneuve’s fearless turn takes off from those appetites. She makes Béatrice greedy and without shame — a slattern who’s been around too long to put on airs. It’s a shock to see Deneuve leave any trace of her elegance behind (usually, she clings to it), but it all reminds you what a terrific actress she can be.” - Variety