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Return of the Hero
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Return of the Hero

A good old fashioned corset comedy with minimal laughs but a decent level of charm, Return of the Hero (Le Retour du heros) pairs two of America’s favorite Frenchies for a drawing room farce about love, valor and duplicity at the start of the 19th century. Oscar winner Jean Dujardin stars opposite Melanie Laurent as a swashbuckling swindler trying to take advantage of the latter’s aristocratic family, resulting in a few funny scenes played out in lavish costumes and eye-popping decors. The result could score well with Gallic audiences, including Dujardin’s local fan base, but it’s not sure whether the humor or lack of it will translate outside of Europe or Francophonia.

Directed by Laurent Tirard (Le Petit Nicolas), who co-wrote the script with Gregoire Vigneron, the story begins in 1809 with the suave and courtly Captain Neuville (Dujardin) showing up on horseback at the chateau of the maidenly Elisabeth (Laurent). He’s there to ask her brat of a younger sister, Pauline (Noemie Merlant), to marry him, but just when her parents (Evelyne Buyle, Christian Bujeau) accept the proposal he’s sent off to fight in one of Napoleon’s wars and disappears without a trace. In order to save her sis from heartache, Elisabeth decides to forge letters from Neuville that relate his wartime gallantry and later on, his heroic death in India.

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