For Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris), life is complicated. He’s just moved to New York City to be close to his kids because his British ex-wife Wendy (Kelly Reilly) moved there to be with a very tall American man. This also brings him close to his best lesbian friend Isabelle (Cecile De France) who is having his baby with her girlfriend Ju (Sandrine Holt). Meanwhile, he’s adapting to life in the States while pretending to be married to Nancy (Li Jun Li) for a Green Card. And, all the while, he finds himself pining after ex-girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou). Such complex situations should be familiar to those who’ve followed Xavier’s life in 2002’s The Spanish Apartment and 2005’s Russian Dolls both of which were also written and directed by Cedric Klapisch.
Chinese Puzzle picks up ten years after Russian Dolls and follows these beloved characters in their 40s. And, just like its predecessors, Chinese Puzzle is zany and fun and contemplative. It also gives a new a spin on the old City of New York. Duris is a charming lead who pulls off confused, wayward 40-something with ease (and also handles the many languages with ease as well). And his supporting partners are great at balancing the wildness of their characters while still making them likable. Reilly, in particular, walks a fine line being the sort of antagonist; but her grace on screen prevents her from becoming a more monstrous character. If you haven’t had the chance to watch these fun, charming films, then do you yourself a favor and binge watch them all.
The Blu-ray includes an interview featurette with Tautou and De France and a making-of featurette focused on the filming in NYC and Klapisch comparing and contrasting this film to the previous ones.
"Chinese Puzzle" is on sale October 14, 2014 and is rated R. Comedy, Drama, Foreign. Written and directed by Cedric Klapisch. Starring Audrey Tautou, Cecil De France, Kelly Reilly, Romain Duris.