Set in Paris, The Godmother introduces Patience (Isabelle Huppert), who works closely with the Police in the narcotics division as a translator. Patience assists by translating transcripts, and interpreting during interrogations, Police raids and live discussions when Police are on stakeouts. When she is not working, she visits her mother, who is currently receiving assisted care, costing Patience a lot of money each month. She also has a friendship with the primary nurse who is looking after her mother. Patience currently lives alone, but we understand she was once married and now has a relationship with the Police Chief.
In the present day, we learn that Patience is exhausted from working for the Police and is concerned about her future. But things change dramatically when she is invited to translate a live audio feed. The audio feed features the son of the nurse who cares for Patience’s mother. Out of sympathy and friendship, Patience decides to lie, giving her fellow officers false information. Taking things even further, she soon creates a whole new identity for herself and begins a secret life of dealing in drugs to make money. The question is, will Patience ever get caught?
I am a fan of some of the previous films featuring Isabelle Huppert. Here, the actress is tackling a role that is certainly less dramatic than what we have previously seen in cinema. The Godmother allows the actress to have fun while focusing on dramatic topics such as crime and family. The performance from Isabelle Huppert is as always pleasing, and we generally care for the character of Patience. The movie has a great set up, which led to me being curious to know what was going to happen to Patience, questioning if she would get away with all the lies she is now living. Still, once she starts telling lies and ultimately transforms into a criminal, the film encourages the audience to care for her mainly because she is helping those in need (such as her mother) along with herself.
Still, like the film, her character has vague moments, especially when it comes to Patience making quick (yet meaningful) life choices. When Patience decides to lie to the Police on a live feed, I completely understood why she did it, but I also could not help thinking that her reasoning during this moment felt somewhat vague and lacked tension. The story then takes its lead on a whole new journey and a new secret life, but some scenes on screen were not as exciting as I had hoped for. The film also feels quite similar to the feature title Out of Time (2003) starring Denzel Washington. We see yet another leading character within the Police hiding several secrets and continually covering her tracks, hoping the Police won’t figure out who is behind the crimes.
The movie never delivers a high level of suspense or thrills, and it feels more of a basic story instead of a dramatic tale.
Overall, The Godmother is a crime story without any significant thrills or suspense. It is a simple story about a translator who begins to lead a double life in crime, allowing her to help herself and others around her. The plot is generally acceptable, but I cannot deny some moments felt a little uninteresting. The top performance from Isabelle Huppert is good as always. Still, the actress is undoubtedly tackling a role that feels more fun and less dramatic than what she has previously delivered in cinema.