The first series created by Julie Delpy is a drama as earthy as it is touching. In On the verge, broadcast from this Monday at 9:05 p.m. and available on the myCanal platform, the Franco-American actress, director and screenwriter poses her singular, lucid, poetic and whimsical gaze on the midlife crisis crossed by four Californian friends between the ages of forty and fifty. Under the guise of a tasty, light choral chronicle and falsely messy hilarious lags, the talented Julie Delpy leads a deeper reflection on the passage of time and the wear and tear of the couple and signs a jubilant comedy on quinquas also rock’n ‘roll as Millennials.
On the Verge, whose title is a nod to Pedro Almodovar’s film Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, is a project that has lived in Julie Delpy since 2013. “I was surprised to see, when I reread the bible of the series, that what I had written at the time was very close to the final version” , laughs Julie Delpy, that 20 minutes met at Series Mania, where the series was shown out of competition. This fiction, co-produced by Canal + and Netflix, “is not autobiographical. My life is completely different, ”she emphasizes. Even so, “there’s a little bit of me in all the characters. I was inspired by myself, by friends of mine, by people I know… ”
Justine, “a woman in a universe of men”
In On the verge, the actress plays Justine, the chef of a chic restaurant in pre-Covid Los Angeles. “What amused me was placing a woman in a world of men,” she explains. I liked the idea of a female chef, because, somewhere, it’s one of the last completely male strongholds. There aren’t many female chefs, and we still allow ourselves in the kitchen to do misogynistic things. “
Justine boils the pot for her son, Albert, obsessed with John Lennon, and her husband, Martin (Mathieu Demy, also director of a few episodes), an unemployed architect. “She works like crazy and tries to express her discomfort through writing,” comments Julie Delpy. I found it funny the idea of a chick who writes a cookbook, but turns it into an existential book about her life through food. “You’re not Simone de Beauvoir, you cook,” * Martin reminds him. “She’s a woman a little roughed up by men, by her husband, by her boss. It is a little walked on by everyone, ”concedes Julie Delpy.
To get through this existential crisis, Justine can count on the unwavering support of her long-time friends, all of them a little crazy. Anne (Elisabeth Shue), a bohemian stylist, finds it increasingly difficult to depend on “her mother’s money” and clings to a man who no longer loves her. Yasmin (Sarah Jones), brilliant academic has not worked since the birth of her son twelve years earlier. And Ella (Alexia Landeau, also co-writer), broke single mother of three children from three different fathers “exploits her misfortune” on YouTube.
A series where “everyone is lost”
“We talk a lot about women in the series, but the male characters all have a particular color,” said Julie Delpy, who scrutinizes the crisis of masculinity mirroring these women on the verge of nervous breakdown.
“Martin has all the faults in the world, he is abusive, angry, narcissistic pervert. He’s really an asshole. But there is a touching aspect in the way he cracks when he says: “A man who does not work is not a man”. It’s a bit cliché, but it tells something about his values. He says to himself that he is useless, it is his drama ”, analyzes Mathieu Demy. “He’s there like an idiot to present his design projects to guys who don’t give a shit and who want to go eat at his wife’s”, adds Julie Delpy.
And to continue the portrait of male characters: “Anne’s guy is like a child. He is not happy because he is trying to assert himself. Jerry [le patron de Justine] is completely dumped. Yasmin’s husband doesn’t understand what’s going on… ”
“Everyone is lost,” recapitulates Mathieu Demy.
A work with “one foot on each side of the Atlantic”
Through this gallery of portraits of burlesque and endearing neurotics, who will happily emancipate themselves over the 12 episodes of about thirty minutes ofOn the verge, Julie Delpy, installed for thirty years in the United States, demonstrates, once again, her incredible ability to film the anecdotal to show the essential, and to go from the intimate to the political.
“Julie has an extremely interesting position, it is that she has one foot on each side of the Atlantic, this allows her to have as much humor both on the Americans, as on the French and their cultural differences. »Greeted Mathieu Demy. Julie Delpy thus outlines a funny, original and impertinent critique of the contradictions and paradoxes that make up American society. “But obviously, I don’t care about the French too! “