The "grand role" of the title, though, comes from the post-diagnosis decision of husband and friends to pretend to the bedbound Perla that Maurice has won the key role of Shylock in Grichenberg's latest, and is in fact going every day to the set; not only that, faked (also improbably) copies of magazines--such as an issue of Premiere with Maurice on the cover--left by the players for Perla's perusal lead her to believe her husband has achieved the fame she so wished for him. The movie's question becomes which will end first: their charade, or her life.
It's the second half of "Le Grand Role" that is the less strong of the two, surprisingly, given the increased depth of emotions at work. But director/co-writer Steve Suissa ("L'Envol"), adapting a novel by Daniel Goldenberg, proves more effective with sunnier playing; and the focus on the importance of the ruse's success undercuts some, though not all, of the tragedy of Perla's situation. Still, though not truly a grand film, "Le Grand Role" is a good one that could please most specialized audiences, especially couples. Starring Stephane Freiss, Berenice Bejo and Peter Coyote. Directed and produced by Steve Suissa. Written by Daniel Cohen, Sophie Tepper and Steve Suissa. A First Run release. Comedy/Drama. French- and English-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 89 min