Rated 4.0

In 17th century Paris, years before achieving fame as France’s greatest playwright, struggling actor Molière (Romain Duris) agrees to give acting lessons to a wealthy merchant (Fabrice Luchini) who hopes to seduce a beautiful neighbor; meanwhile, Molière finds himself falling for the merchant’s neglected wife (Laura Morante). The script by Grégoire Vigneron and director Laurent Tirard follows the lead of films like Shakespeare in Love and Becoming Jane, offering a fiction that turns the writer’s life into a rollicking farce like something out of one of his own plays, with cuckolded husbands, star-crossed lovers, virtue rewarded and vice unmasked. For theater people and French literature buffs, it’s a merry game of spot-the-reference, but even those unfamiliar with Molière’s plays can join in the fun.