Netflix’s The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend made us privy to the deteriorating relationship between a daughter and a mother and showed us how detrimental it was for the family as there were predators lurking to take advantage of that discord. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers already had a lot of issues with Liliane, and the arrival of Banier worsened the circumstances even more. When Francoise learned what Banier was up to and how her mother was enamored with him and unable to see reality, she made the decision to take matters into her own hands. It was difficult for a daughter to initiate court proceedings where she was questioning the judgment of her mother and asserting that she didn’t know that she was being cheated by the person whom she felt the closest to. Obviously, Liliane didn’t take it very nicely, and at first, she asked her daughter to take her case back. But Francoise had made up her mind, and she had decided she was not going to be a bystander while Banier took everything that she rightfully deserved. During the course of this conflict, we came to know a lot about the kind of person Francoise was, though the documentary leaves it up to us to decide whether she also took advantage of the mental condition of her mother or if she was sincerely looking out for her. So, let’s try to understand what Francoise went through and if she had any hidden agendas or motives.
Why did Francoise feel that Liliane didn’t love her?
Francoise had very different sensibilities as compared to her mother, and that was one of the big reasons why they never really understood each other. Francoise was an introvert, and she didn’t like being in the limelight. Apart from being called the heir of the empire, she wanted to have her own independent identity. Francoise craved love and attention from her mother, which she probably never got. There was a rift that was created between them, and we believe that somewhere, that made it easier for people like Banier to take advantage of the situation, especially after the death of Liliane’s husband, André. Liliane, on the other hand, always felt that her daughter came in between her and her happiness and tried to push the people she was closest to away from her life. Maybe Francoise did that, but it could have been possible that the motive behind doing so was not to hurt Liliane but to get her attention. Maybe all that Francoise wanted was to be loved, and it would have made her bitter from within when she saw how her mother discarded her from her life.
Francoise did not interfere in her mother’s matters for the longest time, but when she saw that Banier was literally taking advantage of her, she decided to step into the battle and take what she had always been entitled to. Francoise filed a case against Banier, and she told the court that her mother was not capable of making rational decisions because of her mental state and that Banier was cheating her in every manner that he could. In the third episode of The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend, we saw that Francoise asked the court to not let her mother make her own decisions and appoint a legal guardian for her. Now, it was possible that Francoise was doing all of this because she actually cared for her mother, and she didn’t want others to influence her into doing something that she wouldn’t have in her rightful mind. But still, it cannot be denied that it was not all due to concern, and somewhere, the huge amount of money and the entire estate that was at stake did have a role to play in the scheme of things.
Did Francoise take advantage of Liliane’s mental health?
Liliane had explicitly stated that she wanted her daughter to take all the cases back, and she didn’t want to be kept under anybody’s guardianship as she was capable of making her own decisions. It was very clear from the onset what Liliane wanted, but after the experts examined her on the orders of the honorable court and came to the conclusion that she was suffering from multiple mental disorders, things changed drastically. At the end of The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend, Liliane did end up signing a contract with her daughter, secretly, without even telling her lawyers, and the court immediately appointed a guardian for her. So now, all the decisions pertaining to the management of funds, property, and other assets were to be taken by Francoise and her children. The first thing that Francoise did was to change the entire staff and bring in new people. Patrice de Maistre was removed from his position, and Francoise’s husband took his place. After the death of Liliane in 2017, Francoise and her children inherited the entire property, and the will where Liliane had mentioned giving the Seychelles island and a share of the money to Banier was never carried out.
The biggest question that everybody who got an opportunity to observe this case closely asked was: considering the fact that Francoise had claimed that her mother was not able to make her own decisions, could it be said that Liliane would not have signed a contract with her for appointing a guardian if she hadn’t have been in such a fragile state of mind? Well, probably nobody would come to know the reality, but Francoise did claim that it was done out of pure intentions and that there was no foul play involved in it. Francoise never allowed her mother to get in touch with her old employees after the contract was signed, especially people like Maistre and Banier, who were very close to her.
Some people say that Francoise snatched the freedom of her mother and made sure that she got locked up in her palace, because of which she was devoid of all the happiness during her last days. But after seeing what happened in their lives in The Billionaire, The Butler, and The Boyfriend, I personally believe that any child would have done the same thing. Now, here we question the motive of Francoise because we know that she didn’t share a very good relationship with her mother, but still, any child, in any circumstance, would feel frustrated if their parents were influenced by a third person and gave a chunk of their property to them. We cannot deny that Francoise may have taken advantage of her mother’s mental condition, but we firmly believe her to be the lesser of the two evils. Had Francoise not intervened, surely Banier would have convinced Liliane to name him the sole heir, and he had already made his motives very clear by asking her to adopt him. In the end, we could say that Liliane always had a lot of complaints against her daughter, and even Francoise never got the love and affection that she craved.