L'Idole (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Tuna's words in yellow:

Leelee Sobieski plays an understudy, and is in a sexual relationship with the lead's husband -- a rather noisy relationship, much to the chagrin of other tenants in her apartment, with one notable exception. Mr. Wong, across the hall from her, is taken by her, and the former chef decides to cook for her, do other kindnesses like doing her laundry, and hopefully talk her out of suicide. His fatherly fondness for her might be related to the death of his family in China during WW2. Leelee plans suicide amidst a rape attempt by a lecherous neighbor, and an apartment-wide petition to force her to move.

Most reviews are tepid, and question the wisdom of Australian writer/director Samantha Long taking her act to France, and making a French-language film with two American actresses of different ethnicity. They made excessive use of tinting, such that we have yellow, orange, blue, and green scenes. I couldn't tell if this was done with lighting or in post prod. It's a very long watch, as it is a very talky character driven drama entirely in French with no subtitles. Leelee and James Hong give first rate performances and form a believable bond. Your enjoyment of the film will largely depend on how much you like their two characters.

L' Idole DVD aka The Idol Leelee Sobieski


We see Leelee Sobieski nude, from the side, brushing her hair, then from the back sitting on the bed.

There is a VERY old woman naked from the side and rear.

Scoop's words in white:

l'Idole is a character-based "slice of life" drama about how the arrival of an Australian actress (Leelee Sobieski) changes the lives of various eccentric and colorful people in a Parisian apartment building. The dialogue is almost entirely in French, which certainly represents an ambitious undertaking for an Australian director (Samantha Lang), an American actress (Leelee Sobieski, who speaks French), and an elderly American actor who looks Chinese and speaks no French at all (James Hong).

Hong plays a dignified, elderly, Chinese man with whom Sobieski forms an special relationship. Hong offers attention that that is simultaneously grandfatherly and lustful. He watches his beautiful new neighbor and begins entering her open doorway again and again. She has been mistreated by selfish young actors, and he is an old-fashioned gentleman who soon wins Sarah's friendship by cooking elaborate meals and treating her like a princess. We expect their relationship to develop in some way, but the movie is not that simple and the narrative is not that straightforward. It has one of those arty endings where people stare off into the middle distance while the camera captures their heartbreak and shock, while people in the audience wonder if the movie is over.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-.

Return to the Movie House home page