The Closet

Director: Francis Veber

The man responsible for some of the funniest contemporary French films of the past thirty years (a few of which have been remade in the U.S.) releases one of his most creative and sweet-natured comedies about Francois, a dull accountant (Daniel Auteuil) who, after being forced out of the large group photo at his work for “space reasons” overhears that he is about to be fired.

Divorced from the wife he still loves and a son who’s been growing distant from him, Auteuil’s job crunching numbers for the local condom factory has been the one thing that’s kept him going for years. A new neighbor intervenes in Francois’s plight by doctoring photographs and sending them anonymously to his work, implicating Francois as gay, knowing full well from his own experience in the corporate world, that the company wouldn’t want to fire him for what others may perceive as reasons of homophobia.

Soon, as the film’s tagline reads, “in order to save his job, he must come out of the closet he never went into” as the entire company reacts in various manners from his female colleagues trying to play detective and some of the male ones turning a bit hostile, including Gerard Depardieu in a hilarious turn as a homophobic coworker whom Thierry Lhermitte encourages to make nice with Francois by manipulating the prejudiced and weak-minded Depardieu for his own sport.

A thoughtful, highly intelligent film that makes some great points about corporate politics and tolerance, the actors (including costars Jean Rochefort and Michele Laroque) provide excellent support and The Closet is one of Veber’s best in recent years. Note: for a fun Veber double feature, pair The Closet with The Dinner Game.