Director Pierre Pinaud has been very quiet since his last feature in 2012, On Air. He has finally returned with a delightful comedy-drama The Rose Maker.
Dedicated to his mother, who was a horticulturalist, it tells the story of Eve Vernet, proprietor of Roses Vernet. A previously award-winning rose breeder, Eve is now struggling to keep her late-father’s business going, especially with competition from the massive horti-business Lamarzelle. Her long-standing business partner Vera decides to take on three unemployed workers from a rehab facility, none of whom know anything about roses. And so the fun begins.
The Rose Maker is a classic David and Goliath story: the small family-business battling the big corporation. But it is also about finding yourself, and letting go of the past.
The wonderful Catherine Frot stars as Eve, bringing depth to what could be a simplistic character. Olivia Côte is gorgeous as the long-suffering but loyal Vera. The ramshackle group of helpers comprises Fatsah Bouyahmed as Samir, Marie Petiot as Nadège, and Manel Foulgoc as Fred. Arriving knowing nothing about roses, and each with their own special brand of emotional and social baggage, they will go on to change Roses Vernet as much as it will change them. Fadette Drouard’s screenplay stays fresh, witty, and warm, giving the ensemble plenty to have fun with, while also serving up some depth.
Roses, of course, loom large throughout the film. There is enough horticultural detail to keep the audience fascinated, without it becoming a pseudo-documentary. Pinaud even shot at the Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle, one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for new roses. This, and the hectares of rose farms give cinematographer Guillaume Deffontaines glorious material for his camera to capture.
The Rose Maker is a delight from start to finish, with a few surprising turns along the way. Almost impossible not to like, it is a feel-good movie with depth and charm.
And you will never look at a rose in quite the same way again!