Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

La Vie en Rose (aka La Môme)

So, I was looking forward to La Vie en Rose, not least to see Marion Cotillard's Oscar-winning turn as Edith Piaf.

It's tough to give a synopsis other than it's a bio-pic about a French singing superstar. It spans her life from the age of about 10 to her death at an incredibly old-looking 47.

Hers was a tough life and no messin'. Jesus, it makes Johnny Cash's look like a charmed one, full of love and happiness. Not only was it tough, it also had a lot going on, and this is the main problem with the film. There is just too much information crammed into the running time.

The other significant problem is that unless you have even the most basic knowledge of her life already, you may find yourself wondering what the fuck is going on every once in a while.

Cotillard is phenomenal in the lead role, of that there can be no doubt. As she ages, you can feel every ache in her bones. Her tiny shuffling frame towards the end of her life is almost heartbreaking to behold. And her scenes on stage are quite magnetic. (Don't be put off or swayed by the haters who bitch about her not singing her own songs. The lip-syncing is so good that you never notice anyway.)

But the film is simply not quite as good as she is. I half-wonder whether one day an extended cut might surface on DVD, or perhaps a mini-series-type adaptation, because I'll wager shitloads of footage hit the cutting-room floor to get this work down to some 130 minutes.

All that said, it is a beautiful-looking film, with amazing sets, costumes, and use of colour throughout. And the performances are good from the supporting cast, too, even though many are very brief.

I score La Vie en Rose a "worth watching but slightly disappointing" 70 points out of 100.

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