Movie Review: The drama in real life is “My Best Part (Garçon chiffon)” for this sad, jealous French actor

It’s a stereotype, of course — this idea promoted by decades of plays, movies and TV shows that every gay man is acting out his own “Torch Song Trilogy,” suffering (rarely) in silence or with the grand dramatic gestures of a tragic diva — Judy or Callas or Carmen playing out her final scene, dying for love or want of it.

But Jérémie Meyer can’t help it. He’s an actor, after all. “Narcissistic” comes with the job. And he’s going through things, the first of which is losing the role of a lifetime with a writer-producer unloading all HIS problems on a stricken Jérémie in an amusing but oh-so-deflating “It’s not you, it’s ME” break-up/firing the moment we meet him.

Jérémie, whose dad “just died,” is very slow to figure out that his own life of disappointment, professional and personal struggle that includes love life issues, is “My Best Part.”

Director, co-writer and star Nicolas Maury (“Dear Prudence,” “Paris, je t’aime”) serves up a dry comedy that invites us to watch Jérémie suffer and laugh at him as he haplessly copes with everything confronting him over the course of this lightly-amusing film (titled “Garçon chiffon” in French).

That “break-up” firing scene is just the start of it. We join him as he ducks into his first meeting of AJA, a “Jealousy Anonymous” support group whose members count the days since they first figured out (in French with English subtitles) “the world doesn’t revolve around me.”

A fellow member advises Jérémie to not “open every closet. You don’t know what’s in there.” That is advice Jeremy ignores. He’s given to storming in on his hunky veterinary surgeon lover (Arnaud Valois) and accusing him of treating his intern as a side piece. The couple’s brittle back and forth makes one wonder what Albert could possibly see in this clingy, self-absorbed drama queen. Jérémie even goes so far as to purchase spy camera gear for their apartment to check up on him.

Jérémie unloads his “What’s wrong with me?” insecurities on his agent (Laurent Capelluto), commiserates with his close friend, the volatile actress Sylvie (Laure Calamy), whose heated argument with her husband morphs into an over-the-top rehearsal moment with her giving bad-luck- Jérémie a black eye.

It’s only through a long visit to his mother (Nathalie Baye) that we get a handle on what’s really bothering the actor, whom mom has given assorted cute nicknames (“Napkin”) and who refers to him as “autistic,” when really he’s just another seriously self-absorbed actor/drama queen going through a rough patch.

Maury, sporting a dark metallic-rust bowl cut and a hangdog Will Forte pout, flirts with letting us pity Jérémie — but only flirts. He’s processing grief about his father, his career, his love life, and we’re pretty sure he’s put those in the most selfish order in his mind.

“Sometimes I feel like an apple on compost, waiting to bio-degrade.”

But flashbacks to his bullied childhood, when all he wanted to do was be alone, dress as a gamine and lip-sync to French girl pop, and third act revelations about his father’s death soften the character just enough for us to identify with him.

“My Best Part” is a bit of a stroll as a movie, never hurrying through anything, never forcing a laugh, taking long pauses and wandering off on tangents such as Jérémie’s ineffectual lust for his mother’s young helper (Théo Christine).

My favorite part is when we get a glimpse of what might be his “cure” for thinking “the world revolves around me.” He’s given a dog. Nothing takes you out of your self-concern quicker than caring for a dependent, affectionate pet who turns your “needy” into his “needy” in a flash.

And as Maury probably figured out when he first screened the film, nobody pays any attention to the whiny bowl-cut actor when he’s sharing scenes with the most adorable husky ever.

Rating: unrated, nudity, discussions of suicide. profanity

Cast: Nicolas Maury, Nathalie Bay, Arnaud Valois, Laure Calamy and Théo Christine

Credits: Directed by Nicolas Maury, scripted by Maud Ameline, Sophie Fillières and Nicolas Maury. An Altered Innocence.

Running time: 1:48

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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