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By Martin Provost


Comedy | 2020 | 109 min | France, Belgium | French (English subtitles) | Unrated | 18 and over

Maintaining a household and stoically submitting to conjugal duty are the skills Paulette Van Der Beck teaches with fervor in her home makers institute. Her certainties are shaken when she finds herself widowed and ruined. Is she rattled by the return of her first love or the wind of freedom in May 68? What if the good wife finally became a free woman?

Watch the trailer
Watch the trailer


  • Lisbon French Film Festival (Portugal, 2020)

  • Namur International Francophone Film Festival (Belgium, 2020)

  • Helvetia French Film Festival (Switzerland, 2020)

  • Rendez-vous with French Cinema in Paris (2020)


The combined and contrasting talents of Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau and Noémie Lvovsky carry the film quite nicely. Excellent late-summer fare in this year of the pandemic.

— Glebe Report


Martin Provost’s (Séraphine, Sage Femme) film, he directs and co-wrote the script, takes a look at the roles of women in a satirical kind of way. The humour here is upfront. (…) Plenty of life is breathed into the strict nun, the goofy cook and the uptight headmistress.

— OrcaSound

Without ever taking itself too seriously, and buoyed by a straightforward, easy-going though highly effective sense of humour (based on a screenplay written by Martin Provost and Séverine Werba), How To Be A Good Wife hits its mark: to distract the audience while painting a pertinent picture of France at a time when women had only just been granted the right to open a bank account without the prior authorisation of their husband. Excellently acted by the entire cast, and boasting the usual sleek photography of Guillaume Schiffman, the film is a wonderful, good humoured portrayal of the road travelled over the past fifty or so years towards female emancipation, and of the fact that individual freedom is always essential to "finding one’s place in the world".

— Cineuropa

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Last updated:  March 31, 2021

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