The Midwife (2017)

Table of Contents

January 2019

The Midwife (2017) poster

Catherine Deneuve has played a wide variety of roles over the course of a career now spanning seven decades. But despite her exemplary range, many American viewers maintain an image of her as an aloof, exquisite, possibly imperious, possibly enigmatic beauty.
Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

As for Deneuve, she is a joy, with her funny combination of natural dignity and utter confusion, and surface cynicism that yet loves every moment — the most fun, wise and jolly person in any room she enters, yet capable of the sudden plunge into pained and deep emotion. If you want to fall in love with Catherine Deneuve, don’t start with her youth. Start with her here, in her 70s, and then work your way back.
Mick LaSalle, SFGate

January 2019 begins a series of movies under a new theme, History of Medicine. While the first movie in the series, The Midwife (Provost, 2017), is also concerned with our last theme, Changing Times, the backdrop of medicine is an added feature.

Catherine Frot plays the role of Claire, a dedicated midwife whose prospects are changing for practicing medicine in the way she was trained and had become successful. As Kenny states (2017),

She cares deeply about her work, which, as the movie opens, takes place at a birthing clinic that will soon be closing. She cares so deeply, for instance, that she keeps trying to resuscitate a stillborn baby, long after everyone else has faced reality, in one of the movie’s many realistic medical scenes.

Embedded in a larger story about relationships, the movie shows how lives change when medical practice environments change – a line of demarcation in medical history we are witnessing first hand in America with changes to the healthcare industry. As always comes with change, some aspects are good and some not.

The history of medicine in our world is fascinating and worthy of contemplation. Medical advancements in our lifetimes are simply astounding. Isn’t now a good time to spread them around as far as we can afford? What do you think?

Join us in January to watch this movie with us – it will give your spirits a lift and a confirmation that life goes on with people who are good at their work as always.

The Critique

Eugenics laws in Connecticut
Connecticut among many states with sterilization law

It appears that gene therapy is currently limited to preventing birth defects, syndromes, and diseases. Yet, since it gives people the power to manipulate how the dice rolls with their offspring, its impact on eugenics is profound. Of course, it is not without numerous controversies.
By Mary

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Kenny, G. (2017). Review: ‘The Midwife’ is unflappable, until the past blows in. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Provost, M. (Director). (2017). The midwife [Motion picture]. France: Memento Films.
LaSalle, M. (2017). Deneuve and Frot superb in The Midwife. SFGate. Retrieved from
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