From Scam 2003 to Burning Body, and now Class Act, a trend of fictional adaptations based on real-life events is on the rise, perhaps fueled by a resurgence after several years of absence. 

Regardless of the reasons behind this surge, it’s imperative that we delve into Class Act, a new French show now available for streaming on the industry giant, Netflix.

It is based on the life of Bernard Tapie, a former prominent figure in French public life. 

Tapie’s multifaceted career spanned business, politics, ownership of a soccer team, and even the acquisition of Adidas during his heyday. 

For those eager to learn more about Bernard Tapie, you can find additional information in the FAQs section of this review.

Class Act comprises seven episodes, each boasting an average runtime of at least fifty minutes. The question at hand is whether it deserves your valuable time investment.

Here is my review.

Class Act Synopsis

Living a futile life as a youngster, Bernard Tapie struggles to find any takers for his business idea. The rising debts and poor financial condition further destabilize his hopes until one day when a wealthy man agrees to invest in him.

Image Credits: Netflix

Tapie goes on to do everything you can imagine, including spending time in jail. And his journey has more failures than successes.

Created by Tristan Seguela and Olivier Demangel, Class Act stars Laurent Lafitte (Bernard Tapie), Josephine Japy (Dominique), Patrick d’Assumcao (Jean), Camille Chamous, Antoine Reinartz, and others.

Class Act: Positives

Portraying the dynamic and eventful life of Bernard Tapie, a man who left his mark in various domains, is a colossal undertaking. 

He epitomized the adage “jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” 

Despite the controversy and scandal surrounding Tapie, he was a beloved figure in France. 

Bringing this polarizing personality to the screen was no small feat, but the creators of Class Act have executed it masterfully.

They have succinctly captured Tapie’s appearance and laid a solid foundation for his background.

Image Credits: Netflix

While I’m typically cautious about critiquing the concept and storyline of real-life-based creations, if I were to summarize these aspects of the French series in one sentence, I would say that it handles them admirably. 

The show delves into Tapie’s emotions, successes, and failures with precision.

Class Act also offers a splendid recreation of France in days gone by, with vintage cars, historic infrastructure, and a country in the throes of development. 

While someone from France is better suited to judge this aspect, as an outsider, I found it quite appealing.

Image Credits: Netflix

Furthermore, the screenplay maintains a brisk pace, and the narration flows smoothly without any disruptions. 

This keeps viewers thoroughly engaged with the series. When these elements are executed well, it all comes down to the storyline—the life of Bernard Tapie. 

The relationships he cultivated, the innovative ideas he conceived, and the shady business dealings he was involved in all contribute to a highly immersive streaming experience.

Lastly, I must commend the music, even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics. 

The melodies, instrumental prowess, and rhythmic ambiance establish a profound connection with the audience, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

How are the Performances?

Laurent Lafitte takes on the challenging role of Bernard Tapie, a character often viewed as larger-than-life. 

Portraying such a legendary figure comes with immense pressure, but Laurent rises to the occasion. 

His performance is in itself a “Class Act.” He not only impeccably captures Tapie’s physical presence but also skillfully conveys his inner turmoil on the screen. 

Image Credits: Netflix

It’s a rare talent to breathe life into the portrayal of a public figure, and Laurent accomplishes this with finesse. 

Just as Ranbir Kapoor embodied Sanjay Dutt in “Sanju,” Sushant Singh Rajput excelled as MS Dhoni in his biopic, and Pratik Gandhi shone as Harshad Mehta, Laurent Lafitte dazzles as the flamboyant Bernard Tapie. 

Whether it’s the expressions, the demeanor, or the flashy appearance, he delivers on all fronts.

Josephine Japy, in the role of Dominique, offers a captivating performance in Class Act. 

Her ability to command the spotlight without overtly drawing attention to herself is commendable.

She infuses the series with a seamless emotional vibrancy that forms a strong foundation for the narrative.

Image Credits: Netflix

Patrick d’Assumcao, portraying Jean, Bernard Tapie’s father, elevates Class Act to new heights with his seasoned acting skills. 

Thankfully, his character isn’t relegated to a mere background presence in the series. 

Patrick’s nuanced expressions and on-screen resilience are standout elements of his performance, adding depth to the overall experience.

Class Act: Downsides

There is almost nothing the makers could have done differently. I quite liked the series in its entirety. 

Stream or Skip?

Well, the diverse lives that Bernard Tapie lived, deserve a watch. And who knows, you might have some inspiring takeaways from the show.


How Famous was Bernard Tapie?

Well, he was more popular than the series shows him to be. You can estimate the limits of his fame by the fact that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, condoled his demise.

For a man who was a controversial figure, this is a big thing. Mostly, politicians stay away from such matters but Macron didn’t hesitate in offering words of comfort to the Tapie family.

Even the Prime Minister of France released a press statement to mark his tributes to Bernard.

When did Bernard Tapie’s Father Die?

According to Google Bard, Jean-Baptiste Tapie died in 1995. However, there is no clear indication of his death date on the internet.

In Class Act, we see him alive till at least 1997. Therefore, my knowledge is quite limited in this aspect. 

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