Comparing 'Three Men and a Baby' and 'Trois Hommes et un Couffin'


I think that these two scenes at first appear markedly
different, but are actually quite similar overall. Both
mothers insist that their sons learn to take on the
responsibility of a child.
However, in the American version the mother states out
word for word the moral value of raising a child and
directly proclaims that she will not help Jack.
In the French version, the mother is much more subtle.
She invents a long cruise that she is going (at least I
think that the cruise is invented). One of the main
reasons that I think that Jacque's mother is lying is
because of the way that she keeps making eye-contact
with Marie-Rose. The only role of Marie-Rose seems to
be to act as the silent conspirator in the invented
story. If Jacques' mother is not lying, then I can see
no other significance for having Marie-Rose in the
Do you all agree that the mother's story is made up? Or
do you think otherwise? Do you also agree that the
roles of the mothers in the two films is quite similar?

hi Maria, i definitely agree with your observation of
this explicit nature of the american culture, which we
have been discussing recently. i was cringing as i
listened to the mother's lecture on responsibility in
the am. version b/c it seemed to be placed there more
for the public's need to hear such things. it would have
seemed frivolous for the am. public to hear of a
grandmother not taking care of her granddaughter and
leaving for a vacation in the caribbean. but about the
french version... you know, i didn't think it was a lie
as i was watching the film. but you do bring up an
interesting point about marie-rose. the role that you
prescribe for this character seems to make sense. in
addition, the fact that the baby's name is marie also
seems to establish a relationship between this friend of
the mother and the baby. see you in class-- min.

I think that the both mothers want their child to take
responsibility for his actions and therefore, I feel
that the two scenes are quite similar overall. What I
think might be interesting difference to note is that in
the French version Jack flies out to Nice to see his
mother while in the American version it is the mother
who comes to Jack's apartment to see the baby. Do you
think this particular element symbolizes a different
attitude of the two Jacks toward their mother.

Maria Elena

Perhaps for the french version, Jacques flew to Nice
because as a flight attendant, he would be able to fly
around easily?

Not sure as all..pure speculation I can attribute his
flying all the way there to desperation? or perhaps the
directors wanted his mother to be in Nice, a touristy
place (I think) which fits the image of the mother?
I think Jack's mother (in the american version) seems a
lot more down to earth and independent. Although that
could be qualified by saying that Jacques' mother is
independent too because she is traveling to the
Haven't really answered your question..but these are
some of my thoughts..

Hi Maria, when watching the film, I also got the
impression that Jaques' mother was lying. And I agree
that the other woman was there to underline, or rather
to expose, the lie. I think she was there as kind of a
symbol of Jaques' mother's new life, without children,
but with friends, perhaps traveling. The lie would not
have been evident, or not as evident, without her.

Maybe the difference in the location of these two scenes
is significant, but on the other hand maybe the American
version simply didn't want to create a whole new set for
Jack's mother's house. She looked rich, so her house
must also have been very nice. Is it worth making an
expensive set just for a little scene? On the other
hand, Jaques must fly over to Nice to underline the fact
that his mother is now a free woman without children.
She has no time to visit Jaques -- she's got plans of
her own. In the American version, the mother's
independence is shown instead by her professional
clothes. Obviously she's not a house-wife but a working
woman, who has no time for babies.

I also thought the French mother was lying because she
seemed very vague and hurried when explaining the
situation to Jacques. It seemed that she started off
with the cruise and then went on vaguely about visiting
friends, and perhaps seeing more friends. I didn't pick
up on the eye-contact with Marie-Rose, but that would
explain why they put her in the scene. -sayumi

prendre en compte l'aspect financier du tournage d'une
scène est très interessant et ton explication tout à
fait plausible.L'intégralité de ta réponse est pleine de
bon sens, je partage ton point de vue

I think it may symbolize a cultural difference in terms
of the relationship between parents and their children.
I will question the french students but it seems as
though, once a child has grown up the relationship with
the parent becomes much less "professional" and
educational and more equally interactive(as shown by the
interchange betwen Jacques et sa mere).
However, the amercian jack and his mom display a much
more nuturing, teaching vibe from the mother, which kind
of lines up with the fact that the forums showed how we
saw a good parent as caring. But, doesnt the
relationship seem to become less nuturing etc. with age
in america too?


comme toi, je pense que tout l'histoire de croisière est
une invention et qeu Rose-Marie est là pour empêcher
Jacques d'insister.Comme toi, je pense que les deux
mères ont un rôle similaire. mais je crois qu'elles ne
veulent pas aider leur fils à devenir plus mature: elles
veulent juste ne pas s'occuper du bébé car elles ont une
vie à elles (en effet, on ne voit pas le père). Voila
une question qui me semble intéressante: on voit la mère
de Jacques (et Jack) mais où est son père ?

Pour une fois Jonathan, je ne sais pas si je vais être
d'accord avec toi. En effet, je ne pense pas vraiment
que dans la version américaine, la mère de Jack n'ait
pas envie de s'occuper de Mary. Mais, je pense seulement
que par cette scène est souligné le côté moralisateur
des américains ("tu es grand maintenant, tu dois prendre
tes responsabilités"). Mais, je peux me

Salut maria elena,

peut être est-ce une différence de culture ?? en France,
j'ai l'impression qu'en général ce sont plus les enfants
qui doivent se déplacer pour voir leurs parents,
beaux-parents, etc...

ce n'est rien qu'une impression mais bon. d'autres avis
français sur la question ? comment ça se passe aux etats
unis ?


Pour ma part je pense que Matrie-Rose a menti à son
fils.C'était en réalité un moyen détourné de dire à son
fils qu il devait prendre ses responsabilités.On revient
ici au différent traîtement qu'il est fait de
l'implicite et de l'explicite dans ces fuilms.