Jacques Audiard's scintillating satire pokes a finger at France's questionable role in the Second World War and, in doing so, examines the very nature of history and identity.
Young Albert Dehousse (La Haine director, MATHIEU KASSOVITZ) beats conscription and spends most of the Second World War conflict alone in his room, lost in a daydream of romantic novels. Meeting delectable Yvette (SANDRINE KIBERLAIN), he woos her by pretending to be an author (writing out an existing book and reading it to her as his own). They marry and her father gives Albert a job as a salesman. He quickly learns that a chameleon approach brings most success - people are only too keen to read his quiet neutrality as trustworthy gravitas.
As the war ends, Albert is shocked to discover that Yvette and her family have been resistance fighters. Appalled that they didn't feel him capable of joining their guerrilla activities, and ashamed at his own inadequacy, he flees to Paris to prove himself.
The capital is in political chaos, facing national culpability. With the help of mysterious army veteran, The Captain (ALBERT DUPONTEL), and the public's gullibility, Dehousse begins his reinvention from apathetic young nobody to lion-hearted hero. By diligently revising lists of names and events, familiarising himself with the codes and practices of the underground army, and meeting the right people, Albert manages to pass himself off as a Resistance hero.
Able to recognise in others the artifice that has become central to his life, Albert proves enormously successful in his new job, flushing out Nazi collaborators from public office. But, when he falls in love with Servane (ANOUK GRINBERG), a real Resistance heroine, Albert's conscience hits crisis point.
Adapted from Jean-Francois Deniau's novel by director Audiard and Alain Le Henry, this is a "fiercely intelligent comedy-drama" (The Independent). Time Out called the film, "a dazzling piece of movie-making...packed with delicious twists, subtle ironies and telling details, (creating) a wonderfully funny but finally poignant exploration, not only of France's troubled attitude to its wartime record, but of the mysteries of human identity." As The Guardian beamed, "Sometimes the French match style and content perfectly. This is one of those occasions."