Opening 8 Oct 2020
Patience (Isabelle Huppert) translates for the police. All day she listens to drug dealers talking on the phone in Arabic and reveals the details to her boss Philippe (Hippolyte Girardot). This leads to successful arrests. Her knowledge of Arabic originated from living with her husband and two daughters in an Arab country. Sadly, she is now a widow, and finances are extremely tight, made worse by the costs for her mother, who is living in a home for senior citizens. By chance Patience realizes that she knows one of the drug dealers; he is the son of Khadidja -- her mother’s caregiver. Patience is extremely smart and, with the help of her new police dog named DNA, she locates a huge stash of drugs and hides it in the cellar of her apartment house before the Cherkaoui brothers can retrieve it. Patience becomes a drug dealer in the disguise of a rich Arabian woman who calls herself Madame Ben Barka. Her customers are Scotch (Rachid Gueillaz) and Chocapic (Mourad Boudaoud). Money begins to flow. The police are completely overwhelmed with the sudden appearance of this dealer (whom Patience also translates for them in words of her own choosing). Does Philippe suspect something? But he is in love with Patience, who could never do wrong.
This is a being sold as a comedy thriller, and it lives up to expectations. If for no other reason, see the film to experience Isabel Hubbert at the top of her excellence in her interaction with the police, the drug dealers, and even her Chinese landlord, Madame Fo (Jade Nadja Nguyen). Filmed in Paris; based on the book La Daronne by Hannelore Cayre. I’m not quite sure where the English title comes from, although Mama could be Patience herself and Weed is, of course, drugs. (Becky Tan)