The Book of Solutions depicts a comic descent into madness or a true genius at work

The Book of Solutions
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Michel Gondry’s latest film The Book of Solutions puts Pierre Niney in the main role and it’s our favourite film starring him yet. Finding out in the opening scene that the company which invested in his unfinished film is going to pull the plug and put their own team in, Marc (Pierre Niney, Mascarade, AFFFF 2023, OSS 117: From Africa with LoveBlack Box and Goliath,  AFFFF 2022) decides to go for Plan B, which is the to take the unfinished film and his team to his Aunt Denise’s (Françoise Lebrun, Gaspar Noé’s Vortex (2021), Tomorrow at Dawn, AFFFF 2010) house in the Cévennes to finish it.

The Book of Solutions

There’s just one problem, Marc won’t even watch the current version of the film, which makes Charlotte (Blanche Gardin, Everybody loves Jeanne, Smoking causes coughing, Blood Oranges, France, Delete History, #Iamhere) his editor’s role near impossible. Adding to the chaos, Marc has come off his meds and is indulging in every great idea that comes to mind. But almost none of them are related to the film.


With all of the team staying at his Aunt Denise’s house, Marc can wake poor obliging Silvia (Frankie Wallach) whenever he has an idea, forcing her to find recording studios in the middle of nowhere, and demanding that she organise a meeting for him with the CEO of the local supermarket chain.


One of the funniest moments in The Book of Solutions is when Marc is trying to record the film’s score with an orchestra with him as composer and conductor even though he has no experience in either (amusingly, this is in part The Book of Solutions’ director’s own experience having also done that himself). At times it’s difficult to tell whether Marc is in a slow descent towards madness or is actually a brilliant genius. Fed up with Silvia denying his requests he declares “I do things differently but I am not an idiot”.


We occasionally hear Marc’s inner voice, which made us think a little of his co-star Blanche Gardin’s film from last year’s festival Everybody loves Jeanne. Sometimes it’s being critical of things he has just said, other times it’s the crazy solutions he is coming up with – such as driving in second gear at all times will prevent accidents – which he will write into his Book of Solutions (another of his projects fuelling his procrastination).

The Book of Solutions/ Le Livre des Solutions @LDS - Partizan Films
@LDS – Partizan Films

After Black Box and Goliath (both from AFFFF 2022) in which Pierre Niney played very serious roles, it was a joy to see him in this more comic role in The Book of Solutions. Blanche Gardin’s character Charlotte takes no crap and is quite a contrast to her more fragile role in Everybody Loves Jeanne which screened at the festival last year. In fact, Marc is surrounded by strong women in The Book of Solutions with his Aunt, Silvia and Charlotte, none of whom are going to easily give in to his every whim. Despite this, we can feel that they are genuinely concerned for Marc, even though he is causing them so much frustration. They make a great cast.


Anyone who has ever procrastinated will be able to relate to Marc. After all, when you’re trying to avoid doing one looming thing, it’s amazing how many other things you can find to occupy yourself with. Similarly, those who have worked with someone who is seemingly impossible to work with may relate to Charlotte and Silvia’s dilemma.


The Book of Solutions is a film we recommend you see at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2024. Just make sure not to procrastinate in booking your tickets or you’ll miss out!


Matilda Marseillaise watched a screener of The Book of Solutions


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