2020 is well and truly here and the editorial staff of CNET France wishes you all the best for this new year. For our part, the first weekend of this new decade is no exception to the rule, it will be placed under the sign of films and series. More specifically, this time we are interested in the French programs in the platform’s catalogue. French productions often do not necessarily enjoy the best reputation, rightly or wrongly.
However, there is no lack of nuggets on the streamingservice. To help you sort through, here’s our selection of the best tricolor movies and series available on Netflix. If you give them a chance, they should make sure you have a good time in front of your screen.
Mathias, Andréa, Arlette and Mathias do a rather peculiar job: star agents in the ASK agency (Samuel Kerr Agency). If they rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of the French show-business and seem to be living the high life in Paris, the reality is a little more complicated. Between rivalries, chaotic personal lives, the whims of stars and the constant struggle to get the best roles for customers, their daily lives are not easy and they all struggle to manage everything at once. When Camille, the illegitimate daughter of one of them, comes knocking at the agency’s door, she discovers the backstage of a world apart. The young woman multiplies the blunders but remains determined to make a place for herself in the middle.
When it comes to the best French series available on Netflix, it’s hard to miss Ten percent. The show very quickly became a classic and one of the most successful French shows on the small screen in recent years. Why? His plot is interesting, his script is clever, and the cast is really up to the task. Let’s not forget either that the backstage ofshow-business is fascinating, it’s nothing new. In addition, each episode brings its share of prestigious guests. Jean Dujardin, Gérard Darmon, Cécile de France or Line Renaud… their presence undeniably brings cachet to the series.
Otherwise, we may sometimes regret situations that are a little caricatured and absurd. Ten percentis still a series to be seen on Netflix and it is very easy to overlook its few flaws. Once caught up in the hectic daily life of the Samuel Kerr Agency agents, you may not be able to stop.
- Discover the trailer of the first season below:
1960 in Paris. André Merleaux is recruited as a trainee spy in the French secret service. Handsome, dashing, but with a naive and suggestible touch, the 23-year-old will be formed with the finest agents in France. The problem is that his colleagues are proving to be far less reliable than they should be. Moulinier, Jacquart and Calot multiply the blunders and are much more concerned with their personal enrichment than with the good of their country. So, absurd situations and diplomatic incidents inevitably multiply, especially since the French administration and its impenetrable meanderings will not really help it to carry out its missions either.
In the Service of the France is a series to be taken 100% at the second degree. At the controls of this series, we find Jean-François Halin, also known for the script of the films OSS 117. To say the least, he’s shooting live ammunition at the de Gaulle years. His caricature of the French secret services of the time allows him to mock some of the shortcomings of France at the time: racism, misogyny and national ethnocentrism, to name but a few.
Most of the time his humor hits the bull’s-eye. When it comes to geopolitics, for example, agents are often wrong all the way down the line and this often results in very comical situations. Add actors as high as Hugo Becker (André), Wilfred Benaïche (the Colonel) and you get a series not to be missed. The broken arms of French espionage are likely to make you laugh a lot.
- The trailer from season 1 can be seen here:
Emma Larsimon is a successful young novelist. While the promotion of her latest novel is in full swing, the author makes a terrible discovery: the horrible characters created in her books are really coming to life in her small hometown. On the spot, his worst fears are confirmed. As she decides to conduct the investigation, strange and sinister events unfold. Will Emma be able to solve the mystery and escape the monsters of her own imagination?
Bet Marianne was risky. France is not exactly renowned for its tradition of quality horror films and series. Yet, for once, the challenge was well met here. Mariannehas very quickly managed to exceed our expectations and proves to be a very good horror thriller that fans of the genre should appreciate. First positive point and not the least, the sets: the production has put the means and it shows and we must give credit to the series for that. Brittany and its misty landscapes also lend themselves perfectly to the intrigue and demonic wanderings of the witch Marianne.
On the whole, the actors are rather convincing, although admittedly this is rather uneven. Let’s nevertheless give a special mention to Alban Lenoir and especially Mireille Herbstmeyer in the title role. They pull the show up by making it more credible and catch up with some riskier interpretations and sometimes not very inspired lines. There are also some script inconsistencies. Nothing prohibitive, but it’s still a shame. Marianne won’t please everyone, that’s for sure. It’s not perfect, but it’s bold and we don’t regret giving it a chance.
- Watch the trailer of the series here:
At 35, Joseph has all the makings of a failed entrepreneur. He’s swarming with ideas, but he can’t get them off the ground. In the dead end, he still works in his father Gerard’s family butcher shop. One day, a friend of a friend tells her that cannabis is going to be legalized in France. That’s the trigger and he thinks he has a genius idea: what if he turns his father’s butcher shop into a beucherie, a shop specialising in selling cannabis? Surrounded by his family and a few friends, he embarks on the adventure, without suspecting that he is not at the end of his troubles, to finally, perhaps, manage to launch himself into a business that works.
Another nice French surprise on Netflix. Decidedly, 2019 will have been a good year for tricolour productions on the SVOD platform. Family Business doesn’t look good, its pitch is not revolutionary and the trap of clichés and clichés was waiting to happen. Fortunately, the series avoids it and is doing very well. Not surprisingly, the script works well and the actors deliver a solid performance. Jonathan Cohen surprises, as does Gérard Darmon, who still has a few surprises in store for him.
The short format of the episodes (about 30 minutes) also encourages consumption. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you want to know what happens next and the six episodes are swallowed in one go. It’s often fun and it’s not boring, even if it lacks a bit of rhythm at the start. Anyway, if you are looking for a series to have a good time this weekend, Family Business will do the job perfectly.
- The trailer of this good comedy is here:
Three brothers and three opposing fates. Demba, Soulaymaan and Noumouké, all three of them grew up in a sensitive suburb of the Ile-de-France and chose to take different paths. The first is a multi-recidivist offender, the second is a brilliant student lawyer and the last is still looking for his way, even if he seems to follow the same path as Demba. In the finals of a famous eloquence contest, Soulaymaan debates with Chloé, a brilliant girl from a very affluent background, about the responsibility of the state in today’s suburbs. His brothers are present in the room and listen to him talk about a subject that is also close to their hearts. All of them have already faced poverty, racism and discrimination.
Kery James is doing well for his first film where he adopts the double role of actor and director. The project, to make a film about the suburbs and to question the responsibility of public authorities in their current situation, was ambitious. The subject is sensitive, it is easy to fall into the indictment and the easy affect, to the detriment of a more posed look on the subject. Fortunately, Kery James avoids all these shortcomings and manages to carry his message with accuracy and emotion. His message hits the bull’s-eye and makes the viewer think and ask questions. The film documents and analyses the situation, without falling into Manicheism. It points the finger at the problem and exposes the supposed causes, consequences and culprits.
The script is a bit too predictable, the dialogues sometimes average and the acting imperfect, it’s true. But the film is worth watching and often manages to be moving. Anyway, it’s a success. Suburban films can be counted on the fingers of one hand and this one is one of them. So he’s definitely worth a look.
- If you want a taste, watch the trailer: