Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(France, 2014)

Back in the ‘60s Paulette and her husband opened and ran a small neighborhood café, and seemed to have a ball doing so. We see all this in home movies playing under the credits, and it was smart to do that, because later in life she becomes a nasty old bitch and it would have been hard for me to stick with the story otherwise. Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, her husband died. (No, not in the Towers, I’m relieved to say; of course thousands of other people died on that black day, and thousands more were born. Bummer when their birthdays come around …) She lost her café to some Koreans, into whose food she cooked a portion of roaches. See what I mean about nasty? It wasn’t their fault she went broke. She also hates “Ay-rabs,” immigrants, and “jigaboos.” You know, like the Brexit people and Trump supporters. Which is a bit awkward, as her only daughter married a black man and they have a cute little son, who she despises because he is black, and worse, she tells him so. The son-in-law is long-suffering, and a cop. I’d have slapped that scowl off her face long ago.

She doesn’t have enough money to live on, sees the neighborhood delinquents selling marihuana on the streets, and decides this is a way to make a living. She convinces the local kingpin, an Ay-rab named Vito, to front her some hashish, and soon is in business, doing much better than he had expected. But the local toughs rough her up because she is cutting into their business. She adapts, making cookies that soon become very popular, so much so that she opens a bakery in her apartment with her three best little-old-lady friends, and offers a huge array of cakes and other sweeties.

Bound to end in tears, we know, and that happens when she crosses the guy who is above Vito in the food chain when he wants her to sell cookies at schools. The cops get involved …

Okay, it was fun. Totally unbelievable, of course, especially when Mr. Big shows up, and in the aftermath of their arrest. So anyway, there they are, destitute again and sorry only that they won’t be able to live the comfortable life they had become accustomed to … when Paulette comes up with an ingenious solution. I won’t reveal it, but it is sweet and funny.