THE YELLOW EYES OF THE CROCODILES as a film would not exist if not for a bestseller book. In France the book does not have a status of an intelligent novel, but of a popular one. I guess if you want to write a popular novel, make sure that your main character is a single forty something mother who succeeds against odds. Such character is Jo, with her unemployed husband who leaves her, two daughters that she has to raise on her own, a mother who only cares about money and a beautiful sister obsessed with becoming a famous writer.
The film is played on the opposites of the two female leads - Jo (Julie Depardieu) and Iris (Emmanuelle Bear). Jo is a Plain-Jane with the heart of gold, easily manipulated and never ready to stand up for herself. Iris is a spoilt brat, that still dwells on one time she could not get what she wanted and ready to lie, cheat and blackmail to get her way.
Like many french films these days THE YELLOW EYES is a little detached from reality: it's enough to write a good book to become a bestselling author, you can still afford to leave in an apartment with the view of Eiffel Tower even on the little salary of a university lecturer, and you can meet the man of your dream in a local library. It's a one episode soap opera, but the one done well. It is full of action, drama and over the top sentimentality. The good actors make it work. Supporting cast includes Patric Bruelle (Iris' husband) and Alice Isaaz (Jo's rebellious daughter) who is a great newcomer and one of the reasons the film is such a fun to watch.
If the ending feels a little abrupt, it is because THE YELLOW EYES is the first novel in the trilogy. A definitely french and irresistibly guilty pleasure, the film will effortlessly win you over. But just like the French say about the book, it is not an intelligent movie but a popular one.