A Happy Man | Un Homme heureux (2023)

February 18th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Tristan Seguela | France, Comedy 97′

A mayor finds out his wife wants to be a man but is more concerned about re-election than his marriage in this perky outing from French director Tristan Seguela.

Sexual transitioning is a tricky subject to tackle and one that could easily be maudlin, misconstrued or even cringeworthy. But Seguela and his writers successfully pull it off, opting for a wafer-light, tongue-in-cheek treatment for this amusing contemporary comedy that treads gently through classic Chabrol country: a conventional Northern French town with its shuttered windows, family-run shops and bars where the locals tend to be conservative, and are not going to take kindly to an LGBTQ+ council. It’s hardly Paris.

Fabrice Lucchini is perfect for the role of Jean Leroy: first incredulous and then gently scandalised in an ‘oh la la’ way when his wife declares, over the pig’s trotters, that she feels like a man, and always has done throughout their 40-year marriage and three children, although, is still in love with him and, in deference,  agrees to transition after his election campaign.

Catherine Frot clearly relishes the role of Edith, now Eddy. Soon the hormones are kicking in, and she’s sporting an incipient beard and moustache, not to mention a tweed jacket and sensible shoes. She even tells the daily to stop calling her ‘Madame’, and enlists in support groups where she meets other transexuals..

Philippe Katerine provides an ironic foil for Lucchini’s mayor, a little bit suggestive, never judging him, and always ready to provide a sympathetic listening ear even when the going gets tough and Leroy goes into meltdown behind the scenes. And especially when he is caught on a traffic camera, his wife embracing him in full drag in a video that naturally goes viral threatening to destabilise his “Forward as Before” campaign trail on social media. Tristan Séguéla offers up a mature, entertaining and insightful comedy drama where the watchwords are understanding, kindness and tolerance, ensuring a happy – almost moving – ending. MT


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