Relationships / Relations entre les personnages


I found it interesting that in the French version the two friends seem to sacrifice much more at first then the biological dad to raise Marie. The biological dad actually doesn't get on board with prioritizing his daughter's welfare over his own comfort for a while. In America I guess it just wouldn't seem plausible for two guys to sacrifice themselves to take care of their mutual friend's baby... 

I meant to write, "than the biological dad" not "then"...huh, excuse me :)

Irina I agree with you. Aside that, I feel like the relationships between the men were very similar in both versions of the film, i.e. they were really good friends in both films and they seemed willing to be there for each other or help each other out whenever they needed to. Of course they argued but who doesn't? 

The major difference is with their individual relationships with Marie/Mary, or how they behaved towards her. Jacques, Pierre and Michel were amusingly careful not to show too much affection around each other in the beginning, but would tickle and kiss her when they were alone with her. Jack, Peter and Michael would happily shower Mary with lots of affection in front of each other and even in front of others! (in the park...). Does this mean that french men have more of a 'macho' image to uphold? 

Leonie, tu pose une question très intéressante; les français sont-ils machos ou pas? En fait je pense qu'à l'époque du film, ils l'étaient sans doute plus mais aujourd'hui, on a plutôt tendance à montrer des hommes s'occupant des bébés dans les pubs, ce n'est plus taboo du tout! A propos des bébés, voici une des meilleures pubs pour bébés en France en ce moment!

et celle-ci pour montrer que les femmes n'ont pas toujours l'esprit très maternel, comme Marie au début!


Ce qui m'intéresse, c'est que Marie ne peut en fait se passer de son bébé, en fait, elle a juste besoin qu'être avec quelque'un pour éléver son bébé, bref, il faut être 2 pour élever un enfant; qu'en pensez-vous?

Bonjour, moi aussi examen, avec Yoan...

Ce qui me frappe, c'est la différence entre les 2 grand-mères; la française ne veut pas trop s'occuper du bébé, elle part en vacances avec ses amis, et l'américaine ne demande qu'a s'occuper du bébé; cela veut-il dire que les grand-mères françaises sont plus libérées? Moi, ma grand-mère passe son temps à aller danser avec des copines, à des kig-ha-farzs, à des lotos, elle a connu le mouvement féministe des années 60. Qu'en pensez-vouys?

To get back to what Leonie says about how men show affection between the two films, I think in the french film, although there's more stigma for loving the baby, when they do show her affection, it's deeper. In the american version, the men just hold her up while surrounded by a flock of women in the park. Or they play baseball with her bottles. She seems to be a toy they amuse themselves with, not a real child they love.

@Leonie and Irina:

The film being made in the what...late 80's? I think American culture may have been different. Like, the men seemed more effeminate to me just by the way they dressed (of course their actions say otherwise, I'm referring to their affairs and such). Like, the short shorts (oh GOD >.<), and such. Perhaps rearing and raising children was better-received then than now (I think men nowadays aren't supposed to be as affectionate towards children and babies).

Also, them being guys who know how to attract women, they probably knew that having the baby around was a way to garner attention. Peter, he had the bod, the 'stache, and then to show that he was gentle and caring, he had a baby = instant flock of women around him in the park.

In the French version, I imagine that all of them tried to hide their affection for the baby because their initial sentiments towards Marie were of disgust and hate. I believe that people generally hate to reconcile with their true feelings; like if someone shows you something, but you hate it initially but later learn to like it, you may hide it, maybe for pride.


Amongst themselves, if you could separate the three men into groups, it'd be Jacques/Jack versus Pierre/Peter and Michel/Michael. In the French version, Jacques seemed to be less close to the other two, he seemed more like the guy who getting some every night and telling the other two about it, who were more busy with their work. And maybe it was because they were frantic and angry, but Pierre treated Michel rather poorly for his decisions, I think more so than in the American version. The three of them didn't seem that close. They had to negotiate a plan to take care of the baby (which is logical), but it could also indicate that there isn't a sense of trust among them that at least one of them would be taking care of the baby at any given time.

In the American version, they seemed fairly close, at least more than their French counterparts I suppose, which could be indicated by the mural outside their apartment which initially depicted all three of them equally prominently on their front door.


Also, when Jacques came back in the French version, Michel and Pierre were silent and clearly serious, like it was very business-like, and cold. (The American equivalent doesn't translate because Peter thought Jack was an intruder and I don't remember exactly what happened afterwards). This could work towards my idea that the French men weren't as close and were more staying together on the strict basis of living costs and maintaining their apartment. Just speculation.

Comme Irina, je pense que jack ( ou Jacques ) à de la chance car ses deux amis s'occupent vraiment trés bien de son bébé, et tout le monde n'aurait pas réagi de la même manière.

Si vous aviez été dans une situation similaire comment auriez vous réagi ?

Moi je pense que tout dépend de la personne qui a le bébé, si c'est vraiment une amie je m'en serai occupée aussi bien que l'on fait les deux hommes mais si ça n'avait été qu'une connaissance je pense que ça aurait été un peu différent.

Et comme l'a mentionné yoan, les hommes d'aujourd'hui sont moins machos et s'occupent davantage de leurs enfants, c'est la nouvelle génération de papa qui arrivent et personellement je trouve ça bien que l'homme soit autant impliqué que la femme dans l'éducation de leur enfant car après tous les enfants se font à deux donc logiquement on les élève aussi à deux.

la tendance est elle la même aux USA?

Pour moi, la grand-mère américaine est le stéréotype de la femme américaine, toujours bien coiffée, et toujours de la même manière, pleine de bons sentiments, elle ne ressemble pas vraiement à une vraie personne; c'est comme les femmes dans les films américains, elles se resssemblent toutes, alors qu'en France, les actrices peuvent jouer des rôle s très différents.


Pensez-vous que la mère de Jack soit représentative de la grand-mère américaine?

Anton, quand tu dis:

Perhaps rearing and raising children was better-received then than now (I think men nowadays aren't supposed to be as affectionate towards children and babies).

cela me surprent beaucoup car je pensais que vous aviez évolué de la même manière; pourquoi les hommes américains sont-ils moins intéressés par les enfants et leur éducation que maintenant? Ici, c'est l'inverse, le gouvernement français a même mis en place un congé de paternité de 15 jours pour les hommes qui viennent d'être père... Cela existe-t-il aux USA?

Yoan, hold on, it may not be true that "men nowadays aren't supposed to be as affectionate towards children." For instance, on the street I often see a man pushing a baby stroller while a woman walks alongside. I see men walking around campus with their young kids. (I don't know if they're touring MIT, or work here, or why they're passing through..but they show up...with little kids!) It's more possible, while still rare, for men to stay home to take care of young kids while their wives work--actually, as an example, this happens in the movie Little Children. 

There are contexts where you are not supposed to be affectionate toward other people's children. Like-- I shouldn't be affectionate toward children whose parents I don't know, in the park. I shouldn't be physically affectionate to my students, as their school teacher. I should be *nice* but there is this line of where it would be rude or creepy if I were too affectionate. I mean, I bet you have something similar. In our modern society, I don't want to be perceived as a child molester, by the remotest stretch of the imagination, so I can't be too affectionate to strange children.


Christian, I don't have grandparents in America, but I didn't think the grandmother in the movie was the iconic American granny, if there is one. Mmm, she seemed like she was trying to be the queen of england? or at least a uniformed member of that household. I mean, she was not what one encounters on the street. Maybe for some posh soiree at the local public library, she could show up in that get up.

I'm more used to people's grandmothers being foreign, not american. I see some liberal or hippy looking, gray haired women at the local health food grocery stores...quite rarely with kids in hand... 

Hey guys, what are american grannies like? ( they exist?)

Hello again,

Anton I find your comments about how you feel that you 'shouldn't' be affectionate towards other children quite surprising. Does this mean that you would like to show affection to kids but you cannot because you do not want to look like a bad person, or that you do not feel inclined to show affection towads kids in the first place?

Also, to Yoan, could you please explain further what you meant when you said 'Ce qui m'intéresse, c'est que Marie ne peut en fait se passer de son bébé, en fait, elle a juste besoin qu'être avec quelque'un pour éléver son bébé, bref, il faut être 2 pour élever un enfant; qu'en pensez-vous?' For some reason I am finding it very difficult to understand your question.

I personally thought that the french men also seemed to have a good relationship between themselves, maybe even a deeper and less pretentious one? I don't know but to me it seemed like they looked out for each other a lot. 

To Christian, what does ' des kig-ha-farzs' mean? I am very curious :)

For the relationship among the characters in the movie, I was a little bit surprised by how Sylvia-Marie’s mother is like when she first sees Marie after a few months apart (in the French movie). I would say the reaction is slightly lukewarm, whereas, in the American version, the mother immediately picks up the baby, showers her with kisses, saying that she misses the baby more than she can ever imagine (which is more of what I expect of a mother). 


For the part about American grandmothers, I think the image of the grandmother portrayed in the American movie is quite true for families in big cities, where the grandparents perhaps don’t have a very family-oriented life. Once they are retired, they start traveling, enjoying life etc... But I think in smaller cities, or in the South, where it’s more family-oriented, such portrayal is untrue. Also, I feel that in the American movie, the grandmother refuses to take care of the baby partly because she wants her son to “grow up” and start to take responsibility, instead of pushing everything to his mother. 

Going back to the discussion about being macho, I think I see two sides to the issue.  I think men are still expected to be macho today, but in a very different way.  There's very much the idea of the stoic, or even "hardcore", intense male figure, but I also think the "father" idea has found its way into the modern perception of manliness.  Today you see dads walking around with babies strapped on their chests, and it's ok for a man to say he is going to go home to spend some time with his kid. 

In terms of looks or style, in my opinion, the way men dressed and conducted themselves was more macho before.  Today there's this "metro" fashion, and more and more men are starting to wear colorful, tighter clothes.  Obviously men in the 80's wore short shorts and things that today would be considered weird, but I think the overall image presented by men in the 80's was more rugged (even though they wear short shorts they're still manly).

I didn't particularly like the revamped characters in the American version. (Although, Jack and Jacques seem to be the same character.) I really liked Michel in the French version. He was funnier than his American counterpart. Are the French actors well-known? The American actors are pretty well-known, at least in the 80s. I definitely think this effected how I viewed the relationship between the three men. In the French version, I really got a sense of a tight bond between them. In the American version, I just kept thinking, "Oh, there's that guy from that old movie," and I wasn't fully able to picture them in the roles.

I'm sure that there are American grandmothers who resemble the grandmother in the American version of the film, but probably most aren't like that.

@Yoan - As far as I know (not very far, just to say the least), there isn't such thing as paternal leave here. Someone who's more parent-savvy correct me if I'm wrong.

@everyone else - Maybe I live in a totally different world. Sure, I see guys with their babies around, but I was raised under the impression that men shouldn't be spending their time entertaining and rearing their children like the three men do.

About the grandma thing. My own grandma just travels 'round the world. But she's Asian, so I don't know if that's really an American thing to do at all, but she did take care of me and my sister and my cousins at times.

Jack's mom told him that raising his child would be a great experience for him, and I find that fits in with the general American ideal, do stuff yourself, improve yourself through experience, it's all about the individual.

As for Jacques' mom, I have no clue.

Yeah ok what is up with the grandmother in the American film? First of all, why does she look British? But mainly, what is this "I'm going to leave this baby with you because it's for your own good" nonsense? I prefer the grandmother who went to party in Barbados.

I think that's another one of those educational moments that goes badly wrong because in its own way, it's a lot worse than just saying "woman, take the baby": it's saying "i COULD take the baby and yes, i would probably do a better job raising it, but i prefer to teach you a lesson instead" which is more irritating to me.

I think the men in the French film are a lot closer than the Americans, actually, just in a very different way. The French men are comfortable being around each other, and expresing themselves in a physical way with hand gestures and facial expressions and big movements, and they can afford to be slightly more callous in their reception of Jacques because there's a fundamental level of friendship that holds them together throughout it all. They don't try to get back at Jacques for not taking care of the baby and goign to a beach- they immediately help him and make up a schedule to take care of Marie, etc. There is no competition between them.

The Americans, on the other hand basically said "here's the baby. you're a fool. good luck. we're going to the opera, and we're going to relish the fact that you're going to struggle."


I agree with Anton, it's very "American" to say that taking care of someone younger is like taking on an important responsibility and it's an important thing to learn. That's why many adolescents take on babysitting jobs from a young age. 


Grafton, I thought the French characters were better too!!! They just seemed more unique and less like the stereotypical American that was portrayed in the American version of the film.

Christian, your post is very interesting!! 

"française ne veut pas trop s'occuper du bébé, elle part en vacances avec ses amis, et l'américaine ne demande qu'a s'occuper du bébé; cela veut-il dire que les grand-mères françaises sont plus libérées? Moi, ma grand-mère passe son temps à aller danser avec des copines, à des kig-ha-farzs, à des lotos, elle a connu le mouvement féministe des années 60. Qu'en pensez-vouys?

I think it's admirable that your grandmother leads an independent life, my grandmothers are like that too actually....they take swimming lessons, go on vacations in Europe, take English classes, etc!

j'ai remarqué que dans la version américaine, lorsque les 3 hommes décident de s'occuper du bébé, ils sortent beaucoup de la maison avec elle, ils l'emmène au travail ..., et sur la version française, le bébé reste tout le temps dans l'appartement. peut-être une explication ?

Je suis d'accord avec Mariya sur le fait que les hommes dans le film français sont plus proches. C'est vrai que les hommes français  "rigolent" peut être moin entre eux mais on sent que leur relation est profonde. D'autre part, j'ai l'impréssion que les hommes américain paraisse plus proche au début car ils se sourient et tout mais il n'y a que ça...

Qu'en pensez-vous?

Pour revenir au sujet de la grand mère, j'ai trouvé la grand mère française plus représentative de celle d'aujourd'hui. De nos jours comme l'a dit christian précedemment, elles font dun sport, elles sortent, elles profitent de la vie et elles ont bien raison! j'éspère aussi pouvoir le faire plus tard !

Moi j'ai trouvé la relation entre les 3 hommes vraiment sincère ! On sentait que c'était vraimentb de l'amitié entre eux, et que chaqun d'entre eux étaient prêts à tout pour venir en aide à l'autre ! et pour moi c'est ça l'amitié , que les amis soient présents dans les mauvais moments comme dans les bons.

Auriez vous été capable de faire la même chose pour l'un de vos amis?

La question que je me pose, c'est pourquoi avoir autant changé la grand-mère entre les deux films. Quel était le but des réalisateurs? Pourquoi dans le film français elle apparait comme très libre alors que dans le film américain elle apparait comme très stricte?

Mariya, je dois ajouter que je suis d'accord avec toi, je trouve aussi que la grand-mère dans le film américain à l'air très "british"! Je ne sais pas non plus pourquoi les réalisateurs du film ont fait ce choix. Peut-être pour symboliser la dureté nécessaire pour faire réagir son fils à l'éducation de Mary?