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Molière 

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In this light, fanciful bio-pic, writer-director Laurent Tirard speculates how a few weeks in the ribald life of a struggling playwright and actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin may have facilitated his later transformation into the groundbreaking satirical dramatist Molière. Tirard adapts aspects of Moliere's own style, marrying farce and social critique, as Poquelin (Romain Duris) finds himself "trapped" in a country estate, the pawn of a nouveau riche social climber, M. Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), and his estranged wife (Laura Morante). The film's short bookends, involving a stagy bit of convenient melodrama, are clumsy, but mostly the exercise is a delicious mid-summer bon-bon. There's just a whiff of the erudite, but not enough to detract from the pretty costumes and sets, nor the enjoyable silliness of mistaken identities and hastily slammed bedroom doors. In French, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Aug. 31. Manor (AH)

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