Jacques (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a sound engineer, has been living in Paris’ chic Buci neighborhood for years. A few months back, his wife left him and his newfound bachelor life now seems to have slipped into monotony and torpor, his time divided between work, the local bar and his messy apartment. That is up until the day he comes across a personal ad, 'Housekeeping work wanted," and Laura (Emilie Dequenne), a young woman from the high-rise suburban fringes of the city, enters his life. As the days go by, Jacques discovers the simple charms of this exuberant young woman, and his feelings are reawakened, despite himself.

3.5

Jacques (Jean-Pierre Bacri) a sound engineer, has gone through a bitter divorce; he's lonely and a bit directionless. Impulsively, he decides to hire Laura (Emilie Dequenne) an inexperienced young woman, to clean his apartment; when she's thrown out by her boyfriend she moves in with Jacques and they become lovers.

Despite the sexual attraction, in most ways they're polar opposites, which doesn't bode well for the future. We've seen this story many times before; middle-aged man has an affair with much younger woman, which starts well but ends not so well. And there are no surprises in Claude Berri's well made but quite conventional film.

What makes The Housekeeper watchable, though, is the presence of its two leading actors. As we saw in The Taste Of Others, and other films, Jean-Pierre Bacri is a fine comic actor possessed with impeccable timing, and as the rather naive but determined Laura, Emilie Dequenne has undergone a transformation since she appeared as the desperate young heroine in Rosetta. These two, plus the cameo appearance of director Catherine Breillat as Jacques ex-wife, bring distinction to an otherwise commonplace movie.