A family gathering at a saloon owned by Henri (Bacri), ostensibly to honor the birthday of Henri’s sister-in-law Yolande (Frot), turns edgy and sour as the celebrants ruminate on their unhappy lives and take to bickering at each other. Betty (Jaoui) is single and depressed; Phillipe (Yordanoff) feels his business is going down the tubes; and mom (Maurier) is just kind of nasty. At least level-headed bartender Denis (Darroussin) is around to keep the squabblers from declaring all-out war.
Why we love it
This caustic French comedy is witty and well observed, pumping new life (and a fair bit of acid) into a genre that, for some reason, the French are exceedingly good at orchestrating. With a feisty cast that includes then real-life partners and co-writers Bacri and Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, and director Klapisch himself (as the Father), “Famille” turns mean-spirited jibes and bitter mockery (even the family dog comes in for an insult!) into smart, spirited comedy.