1952, TSPDT Rank #232
Jacques Tati is the famous French writer, director, and actor of the four Monsieur Hulot films, of which this is the first. Tati has often been called the 'French Charles Chaplin,' but American fans of Chaplin might be a little bored and unimpressed if expecting the same kind of movie. Mr. Hulot's Holiday is what I would describe as a restful and rhythmic sort of comedy, because it deals with a number of situations in which the bumbling but well-meaning Hulot gets himself into small amounts of trouble while staying at a vacation resort. These situations might seem somewhat repetitive after a while, but what some people don't pick up on is that this film is basically an indictment of the French culture of the time. Hulot should not be the main focus of your attention, because he acts mainly as a catalyst to continually expose the hypocrisy and selfishness of many of the people at the resort. As a contrast, he never really gets worried about the small dilemmas he might cause to others or himself, realizing them to ultimately be pretty small, and maybe serving to make the monotonous vacation schedule a little more interesting. But although it's enjoyable film, maybe with more to it than some realize, I don't think it ever really achieved greatness. I'm still game for the other films in the series though.