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The Midwife (Sage femme)

Two of France's most watchable actresses - Catherine Frot and Catherine Deneuve - enliven writer-director Martin Provost's contemplative drama. Claire (Frot) is a midwife, who lives in the suburbs of Paris and cycles to work each day to a clinic that has been threatened with closure. Delivering babies with a human touch has become too expensive and Claire may soon become redundant. She remains devoted to her patients and to her son Simon (Quentin Dolmaire), who is in the second year of medical school. Out of the blue, Claire returns home to an answerphone message from Beatrice (Deneuve), the ex-lover of her late father Antoine. Beatrice is blissfully unaware that Antoine passed away many years ago and bulldozes Claire's simple life without a care for the consequences. While Claire is thrifty and considerate, Beatrice spends to excess, determined to savour every second of life, even if it means selling the jewellery that has been lavished upon her by male admirers. Claire is understandably wary of Beatrice and tries to minimise the potential damage to her cosy existence, but the older woman is an unstoppable force of nature, who gleefully refuses to take no for an answer.