We read on the screen before anything happens: "Although based on real people, this film is a work of fiction." This political drama follows in the train of other semi-fictional releases, such as The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland (Idi Amien of Uganda), and Primary Colors (Bill Clinton). Here is a glimpse into the rise to power of France's current president Nicholas Sarkozy, a right-winger who surprised everyone with victory in 2007. Xavier Durringer directs this examination of French politics and modern campaigns built on constant media coverage, putting the right spin on the concerns of the people, and dealing with competition.
Durringer and co-writer Patrick Rotman do not cover-up the dirty tricks on the campaign trail as underdog Sarkozy (Denis Podalydes) launches his efforts to capture the UMP ticket slot from Jacques Chirac (Bernard Le Coq) and another contender Dominique de Villepin (Samuel Labarthe). Nor do they underplay the more disgusting aspects of this politician's character such as his temper, impatience, arrogance, and prejudice.
Standing alongside her husband is Cecilia (Florence Pernel), who for 20 years has pushed and prodded Sarkozy to make his move. She is a consultant to him but in the heat of political battle abandons him and heads off for a rendezvous with an advertising executive. Later, Cecilia informs him that she is leaving for good. The film seems to be saying that it takes a tough man to endure the rigors of a presidential campaign and an even more resilient one to march forward after your long-time wife has left you.