French Exit

Frances Price, a stern, widowed Manhattan socialite, discovers that her luxurious lifestyle has brought her to the brink of insolvency. On a whim, she decides to escape the situation by boarding a cruise ship to Paris with the little money she has left. She is accompanied by her 32-year-old son Malcolm and their beloved cat Small Frank.
A gem of absurdist humour, French Exit owes much to its screenplay, which writer Patrick deWitt adapted from his own novel. And director Azazel Jacobs does more than tune into and emphasise the eccentricity nestled within the witty dialogue. He also gracefully brings to life an idiosyncratic world both rooted in reality and theatrical, with its odd set of rules and discordant community of lonely people. His top-notch cast, which displays a compelling range of prowess in comic timing, succeeds in rendering problematic characters relatable. This fully applies to the caustic Frances, whose lack of interest in being liked is constantly belied by the delightful Michelle Pfeiffer. Every scene in this smart, surreal comedy has some form of treat for the viewer in store.
by Azazel Jacobs
with Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots, Susan Coyne, Danielle Macdonald, Isaach De Bankolé, Daniel di Tomasso, Tracey Letts
Canada / Ireland 2021 English 113’ Colour

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Michelle Pfeiffer (Frances Price)
  • Lucas Hedges (Malcolm Price)
  • Valerie Mahaffey (Mme Reynard)
  • Imogen Poots (Susan)
  • Susan Coyne (Joan)
  • Danielle Macdonald (Madeleine)
  • Isaach De Bankolé (Julius)
  • Daniel di Tomasso (Tom)
  • Tracey Letts (Franklin Price)


Director Azazel Jacobs
Screenplay Patrick deWitt
Cinematography Tobias Datum
Montage Hilda Rasula
Music Nick deWitt
Sound Design Garret Farrell
Sound Arnaud Derimay
Production Design Jean-André Carrière
Costumes Jane Petrie
Make-Up Djina Caron
Assistant Directors Michel Marrec
Casting Nicole Arbusto
Production Manager Virginie Léger
Producers Christine Haebler, Christina Piovesan, Noah Segal, Trish Dolman, Katie Holly, Olivier Glaas
Executive Producers Thorsten Schumacher, Lars Sylvest, Vincent Maraval, Ian Cooper, Mal Ward, Marc Marrie, Matt Aselton, Laurie May, Adrian Love, Azazel Jacobs, Patrick deWitt, Stuart Manashil, Darrin Navarro

World sales

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Produced by

Saalgo Productions

Azazel Jacobs

The director studied film at Purchase College, State University of New York and at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. His highly praised second film, Momma’s Man, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It was followed by Terri, which also premiered at Sundance and went on to screen at Locarno and the BFI London Film Festival. The Lovers, for which he also wrote the screenplay, enjoyed a successful US cinema release in 2017. He has directed two episodes of the Facebook series Sorry For Your Loss and three episodes of the Golden Globe-winning series Mozart in the Jungle, for which he was also a consulting producer during its final season.

Filmography (selection)

2005 The GoodTimesKid 2008 Momma’s Man 2011 Terri 2017 The Lovers 2021 French Exit

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021