Look at Me

Columbia Tristar

Lolita (Marilou Berry) is young, smart, plump, pretty, talented in music and drama, and much in need of approval and affection, especially from her father Etienne (Jean-Pierre Bacri), an A-list writer and publisher who makes little or no attempt to conceal the scorn he holds for any one who fails to interest him—or, worse yet, fails to show the precise varieties of respect and interest that he expects from them. Lolita’s voice teacher Sylvia (Agnes Jaoui) thinks highly of the girl’s father, but soon begins to see his grievous failings as a father and friend, and at just the time that her writer husband Pierre begins to turn a blind eye to Etienne’s offenses out of his own self-serving careerism. What emerges, with both charm and a certain brashness, is a stingingly bittersweet kind of romantic comedy in which the urge to romantic liaisons and artistic partnerships alike is waylaid repeatedly by the distracted egos of even the most well-meaning personages. Berry is quietly wonderful in the key role, and Bacri and Jaoui (who also wrote the film together, with Jaoui directing) are excellent as two contrasting studies in creative self-centeredness.