Green Card is a 1990 American/Australian/French romantic comedy film written, produced, and directed by Peter Weir. The screenplay focuses on an American woman who enters into a marriage of convenience with a Frenchman so he can obtain a green card and remain in the United States.


Brontë Mitchell is a horticulturalist and an environmentalist devoted to the creation of urban gardens and parks on vacant lots. She is anxious to rent an apartment with a greenhouse, but the board of trustees would prefer a married couple as tenants. Her friend Antoine suggests she marry French immigrant Georges Fauré, who needs a green card in order to remain in the country. The two meet at a cafe in downtown Manhattan and after a brief conversation are wed in a quick ceremony at the nearby courthouse.

As a married woman, Brontë qualifies for the apartment of her dreams and, after moving in, she tells the doorman and neighbors her spouse is doing musical research in Africa. When she is contacted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to arrange an interview to determine her marriage is legitimate, she tracks down Georges, who is working as a waiter. Although the two have little time to get their facts straight, the agents who question them appear to be satisfied with their answers. Georges and Brontë It's only when one of them asks to use the bathroom and Georges directs him to a closet that their suspicions are aroused, and they schedule a full and formal interview to be conducted two weeks later at their office.

Brontë consults an attorney, who advises her she could be charged with a crime if the authorities learn the truth about her marriage. She invites Georges to move in with her to enable them to learn about each other's past and their quirks and habits, and they quickly learn they can barely tolerate each other. Georges is a gregarious slob and heavy smoker who prefers red meat to healthy food, while Brontë is a strait-laced clean freak obsessed with her plants. When her parents arrive at the apartment for an unannounced visit, Georges pretends to be the handyman.


The parents of Brontë's best friend Lauren Adler are planning to leave New York City and are contemplating donating their trees and plants to the Green Guerrillas, the group that oversees the development of inner city gardens. Brontë is invited to a dinner party to discuss the issue and discovers Georges is there, having been asked by Lauren. He so impresses the Adlers with an impressionistic piano piece set to a poem about children and trees that they agree to donate their plants to the Green Guerrillas.

When Brontë's boyfriend Phil returns from a trip, Georges reveals he's her husband. Brontë asks him to move out but agrees to continue their preparations for the interviews. The two are questioned separately, and when Georges is unable to identify the brand of cold cream Brontë uses, he confesses the marriage is a sham. He agrees to deportation but insists Brontë not be charged for her role in the charade. When they depart the office, Georges assures her the officers were satisfied with his responses, and they go their separate ways.

A few days later, Georges invites Brontë to join him at the cafe where they first met. When she notices one of the immigration agents is seated nearby, she realizes Georges is being deported. Finally aware she loves him, she promises him she will follow him to France so they can continue life together as a married couple.

Critical reception
Awards and nominations
DVD release

Partial funding for the film was provided by the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Union Générale Cinématographique.

The soundtrack includes "River," "Watermark," and "Storms in Africa" by Enya, "Holdin' On" by Soul II Soul, "Oyin Momo Ado" by Babatunde Olatunji, "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys, and "Subway Drums" by Larry Wright.

  • Gérard Depardieu ..... Georges Fauré
  • Andie MacDowell ..... Brontë Mitchell
  • Bebe Neuwirth ..... Lauren Adler
  • Gregg Edelman ..... Phil
  • Lois Smith ..... Mrs. Mitchell
  • Conrad McLaren ..... Mr. Mitchell
  • Stephen Pearlman ..... Mr. Adler
  • Victoria Boothby ..... Mrs. Adler

Janet Maslin of the New York Times called it "as breezily escapist as a film this facile can be" and added, "Ms. MacDowell . . . has a lovely, demure ease that makes George's appreciative gaze quite understandable. Mr. Depardieu, in the role that gets him into a New York Yankees cap, proves that he is nothing if not a sport . . . He comes to life most fully when he lapses into French or is otherwise momentarily freed from the story's constraints."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed the film "is not blindingly brilliant, and is not an example of the very best work of the director who made The Year of Living Dangerously or the actor who starred in Cyrano de Bergerac . But it is a sound, entertaining work of craftsmanship, a love story between two people whose meet is not as cute as it might have been."

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film a "captivating romantic bonbon" and added, "Don't look for the originality and grit that distinguished Weir's Australian films Picnic at Hanging Rock and Gallipoli , Green Card has all the heft of a potato chip. But Depardieu's charm recognizes no language barriers, and MacDowell, the revelation of sex, lies, and videotape , proves a fine, sexy foil."

Rita Kempley of the Washington Post said, "Like Ghost and Pretty Woman , this romance is blissfully dependent on our staying good and starry-eyed, seduced by the charisma of the leads. And we do, despite its lackadaisical pace and disappointing ending."

Variety said, "Although a thin premise endangers its credibility at times, Green Card is a genial, nicely played romance."

Time Out London stated "Weir's first romantic comedy boasts a central relationship which is tentative and hopeful, a mood beautifully realised by Depardieu (venturing into new territory with a major English-speaking role). Complemented by the refined MacDowell, his gracious, generous performance is never dominating, and their exchanges offer unexpected pleasures. In terms of the genre's conventions, Weir likens this film to 'a light meal.' It's one to savour."

Channel 4 said, "Weir's film has its fair share of cute moments as the opposites slowly begin to attract, but this is largely over rated stuff, which proved curiously popular with critics on its release. Depardieu does his obnoxious-yet-strangely-lovable act with ease; however, the romantic comedy fixture MacDowell is less convincing."

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and Gérard Depardieu won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Andie MacDowell was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy but lost to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman .

Peter Weir was nominated for the Academy Award For Best Original Screenplay but lost to Bruce Joel Rubin for Ghost ; the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay but lost to Anthony Minghella for Truly, Madly, Deeply ; and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay but lost to Barry Levinson for Avalon .

Touchstone Home Video released the film on Region 1 DVD on March 4, 2003. It is in anamorphic widescreen format with audio tracks in English and French.