Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Touching French film has fine, subtle acting

Cleveland Press July 25, 1979

"No Time For Breakfast" is the kind of movie that sneaks up on you.

At first glance you get the impression that you have been faced with a French soap opera. But soap operas lack this film's insights and its skilled, understated acting.

Dominating the movie is Annie Giradot in a performance that is at once subtle and touching.

She is a successful doctor whose husband is a high government official. They have two teenage offspring.

But the marriage is a sham. Each long since has gone his or her own way, taken lovers, made a separate life. They share a home, children and appearances.

Director Jean-Louis Bertucelli focuses his film on the woman throughout -- her days, her life, her interaction with each member of the family.

Like life, the story is a series of minor crises capped by a major one, a crisis that will serve as a catalyst in changing all their lives.

Between her hospital duties and her love life she is hurried and harried, unaware of her children's problems, late in making her rounds at the hospital.

Nervously puffing on a cigarette, she is more tired than usual one morning, must excuse herself momentarily from hospital rounds because she feels ill. With her constant smoking and unrelenting coughing even the rankest intern must suspect what's wrong.

Confirmation of a spot on her lung, the possibility of cancer, shatters her world, stops her whirl wind pace. As a doctor who tries to put everything in the best possible light for her patients she find herself unable to do so for herself. For a time she even refuses to consider the truth.

Running off for a weekend with her lover is no answer to her problem and she turns around and leaves him before the weekend is over.

It is to her husband that she confesses her fear. A touch, a look and the understanding of another time has been rekindled and it is from her family that she draws strength.

The film ends with her being wheeled into surgery, her husband at her side, holding her hand. The movie has not resolved the physical problems but it has taken care of the emotional ones.

Bertucelli makes no obvious pleas for sympathy for his characters, steadfastly refuses to milk a scene for tears. This is not the contrived sentimentality of a "Love Story."

Aside from Giradot's remarkable performance, one that is filled with nuances, there are equally good jobs done by everyone else in the cast. Notable are Francois Perrier as her husband and Jean Pierre Casseli as her lover.