De Battre mon Coeur s'est Arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

De Battre mon Coeur s'est Arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
Romain Duris is fantastic, doing an exceptional work in the composition of his character with a special care for small details, in what turns out to be a compelling, fascinating character study about an dissatisfied man trying to have his life back and follow his dream.
ebs90
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2009
In De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arreté, the main character, Tom, goes through many ordeals in a desperate attempt to find himself. He works, like his father, in "real estate", which is an euphemism for "breaking into abandoned buildings, brutally forcing the inhabitants out, and then selling them". He is immoral to no end, as are his friends and associates. However, as the film unfolds, it's clear that he did not only inherit his father's interests; the individualism he has suppressed tries to break free by wanting to follow the footsteps of his pianist mother. Tom gets an audition with the man who managed his mother when she was alive, and begins to try and juggle the tough, almost mob-like life he leads as a "broker", and his piano rehearsals.
Tom is such an interesting character. He looks very tough and insufferable and he seems not to give a damn about anyone except his father, but when he shows a sensible side, it's heartbreaking. He cares too profoundly about his father, even though it's because of him that he works at something that he doesn't really like very much. His father sometimes uses him to get rent from stubborn tennants... and although Tom knows he's being manipulated, he can't say no. The father-son dynamics are very well developed and they are one of the many inner currents that suck you into the film. Audiard is very good at directing partnerships in which what is said isn't as important as what is implicit; he's an excellent actor's director.
As Tom begins to delve into piano playing, his sensibility begins to awaken from the somber letharg it had been in. When Tom works he is often in dark, dirty, unhealthy environments, frowning and swearing, whereas when he plays the piano, atlhough it enrages him not to play perfectly, he knows he has to unlink himself from that inhuman world. The piano becomes his escape, and his rediscovered love for art begin to form in him a desire to be a better person. Thanks to that he falls in love. And he begins to find his work revolting.
The drama kicks in with subtlety. The turning point is difficult to grasp; the film flows so harmoniously. But soon the problem will be fully exposed: Tom can't marry his job and his love for music. He can't quit either. Something very big has to happen. He detests his job but he's too intimately bound to it... he can't let his father down.
I thought this conflict was very original and very involving. I could feel very closely Tom's desperation and the different attitudes he takes in front of the difficulty of being his own person. A 28 year old man who is, all of a sudden, trapped, just while he is on the brink of making the most important change of his life.
Audiard's narrative is one of the highlights. He relies very much on visual language, and he does "speak" it with immense clarity. His dialog almost never makes reference to the great themes of the film, but they are always clear. I think what adds to DBMSE's charisma is that illusion of uncertainty. Which was the exact case of Sur Mes Levres, another great film.
Romain Duris is the force behind it all, though. He delivers a really fine, torrid performance... captivating when he wants to get his way, and tortured in front of his challenges. Most importantly, he plays Tom with contained passion and charming wickedness, which, in my opinion, defines him during the first hlafof the film. Later on, after the character discovers the changing power of art, he becomes eager, wide-eyed, excited but terrified. Duris evidences these changes so naturally it even seems careless.
Behind the violent premise -Tom's "business"- is a complex film. It's accessible but it requires attention and openness. This isn't just the story of a gangster "getting soft", it's about a person struggling desperately to be independent. Regardless of where that independence will lead him. Audiard seems to be a fan of people going to their limits and then exceeding them.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Beat that My Heart Skipped", Tom(Romain Duris) is a young man who takes after his father(Niels Arestrup) by working shady real estate deals. He also occasionally does favors for the old man when a bit of force is required. While driving past a concert hall, Tom notices his mother's former agent, Mr. Fox(Sandy Whitelaw).(Tom's mother was an accomplished concert pianist and he had aspirations in the same direction...) After inquiring about whether he has kept up his playing over the years, Mr. Fox hands the young man his card and an offer to audition...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Beat that My Heart Skipped" is a remake of the massively overrated "Fingers" starring Harvey Keitel. It is also the very rare remake that is superior because of all remnants of James Toback's psyche having been purged and a better central performance which sheds more light on the lead character's mental state.(Or maybe some movies play better in French...) Tom is an impulsive man(which helps in his affinity for violence), and has had little patience required for the career of a concert pianist in the past. Additionally, he is a charming man but has had trouble maintaining relationships and lives alone.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Note: My interest in seeing a remake depends upon my feelings towards the original work. For example, I do want to see the "All the King's Men" remake because I can hardly remember the original. On the other, I very much liked "Infernal Affairs", so I'm not going to go near "The Departed."[/font]
lesleyanorton
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2010
Tom is a real-estate hooligan by day, but dreams of being a concert pianist by night. Excellent acting by Roman Duris, who manages to bring together amoral thug, loving son and sensitive artist into one part and make it work, and an absorbing character study though I found the final epilogue a bit of an unnecessary tag-on. Cool title too..
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2009
Good but the lack of any resolution is frustrating.
kylemydude
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2007
A great film, not quite as good as "Read My Lips," but still highly reccomended. Romain Duris delivered an intense and emotional performance, and Aure Atika was gorgeous! Also, a small role but the beautiful Melanie Laurent of "Inglorious Basterds" fame is in it and plays a semi-key part. Emmanuelle Devos of "Read My Lips" also has a small role as well. I need to see the original, "Fingers," with Harvey Keitel.
February 1, 2014
Working my way back through Jaques Audiard's back catalogue.
The damaged man theme of Un Prophete and Rust & Bone is evident here as we follow the story of Tom, a man who is torn between following in his father's footsteps as a corrupt landlord or following his passion for music and becoming a concert pianist like his departed mother.
After a chance encounter with his mother's old agent, Tom is invited to audition and he then has to balance both sides of his life as he sets up a dodgy real estate deal and practices for his audition.
Romain Duris is compelling in the lead role as the conflicted Tom. Very empathetic and believable as his life just throws him curveball after curveball.
Another great film from Audiard who is now a goto director for me.
June 13, 2012
Cinematic gold. It just doesn't get any better than this. Plus, if you want to pick up chicks tell them this is your favourite film - getting the French title out of your mouth before she can stick her tongue down yours will be an accomplishment to be proud of. Soundtrack is scorching too. It's all been about Audiard since the early 2000's. If you haven't had the pleasure yet, start here before you go on to A Prophet.
½ April 9, 2012
Beatifully shot and acted. I have issues with the ending but I enjoyed the film very much all things considered
December 17, 2011
It lacks the raw power of 'Fingers' but the story is more fleshed out and connects a few dots that Toback left open. Audiard does realism in the crime genre like few do. Visually his films match the mood of the screenplay wonderfully. Romain Duris is very impressive as Tom Syers. A man who is caught trying to follow in his parents footsteps but there professions are polar opposite from the other. And watching him straddle the line is very fascinating.
April 10, 2010
It lacks the raw power of 'Fingers' but the story is more fleshed out and connects a few dots that Toback left open. Audiard does realism in the crime genre like few do. Visually his films match the mood of the screenplay wonderfully. Romain Duris is very impressive as Tom Syers. A man who is caught trying to follow in his parents footsteps but there professions are polar opposite from the other. And watching him straddle the line is very fascinating.
½ May 29, 2010
I watched a film last night that held me still. It was the French film "De battre mon coeur s'est arrete" directed by Jacques Audiard. This is not a film review, but more like a commentary for those who have seen the film. So let's jump into it.

Thomas Seyr is dark, violent, and prone to outbursts. He is not a large man, but a punky post-adolescent who can hold his own in a brawl. The film is a story about him.

The movie had several themes, but what I loved most was Seyr's commitment to his passion. He fought the same doubts I fight now. He works as a real estate broker in which he and two other men make sure vagrants don't take up residence in buildings that have been sold or are still on the market. They release rats and shatter windows and wake up the homeless dwellers in the middle of the night. It is a jerky profession and not at all honorable. Thomas knows this.

But Thomas also knows how to play the piano. He is very good at it too, but far from perfect. It is his dream to be a professional concert pianist, but his job (or reality) interferes with this dream (or naivete). Thomas is also shackled by his father, a shaggy, washed-up loser who shares his son's profession, but fails in the "enforcement" aspect of it. Thomas frequently defends his dad and enforces stubborn tenants to spit up the dough. But this is no ideal father-son relationship.

Unfortunately, his father thinks Thomas' love for the piano is a worthless endeavor and he uses the word "faggoty" to describe Mr. Fox, the concert pianist who once taught Thomas' mother (now deceased), and who now offers a similar opportunity to Thomas himself. His father's feminization of the piano reveals the recurring prejudice and uneasy relationship pragmatic men have towards art. Simply, men are not real men if they pursue artistic paths. Thomas, threatened by this prejudice, realizes his manhood may be at stake. He does not really seek out his father's pride because his father is clearly a failed man. But Thomas does desire his father's affirmation of this manhood.

This takes me to an angle. However you look at it, only a father can truly confirm his son's masculinity and standing as a man. Other men may search elsewhere for affirmation, but most men seek the words of the father. A father's words are final, both biblically and literally speaking. His words refute all others'.

Thomas knows this: at one point, he even tells his father about a sexual experience he has with a Russian Mafioso's girlfriend. It is an attempt to assert his sexual potency, his manly potency. This is not normal conversation between father and son, and it shows just how desperate Thomas is to reconcile his passion for the piano with his own masculinity as defined by his father.

Against the circumstances, Thomas takes the plunge. He follows his passion fiercely and intensely. But this is no fairy tale. His newfound commitment to the piano does not relinquish the tensions of everyday life biting at his heels. His dad still shames him and clings to him like a parasite. His co-workers ridicule and nettle him back to real estate reality. Even love complicates his devotion to the piano, but perhaps fuels his intensity as well.

And this is why I loved the movie. It is intense and fearless and quiet and seething with energy. For example, there is one scene where a piano professor mocks Seyr's notion of being a concert pianist without any formal training. Rather than arguing or pleading his case, Thomas resigns a "fuck you" and walks away. In my viewing, I interpreted this as Thomas' hesitation to follow through or as his stubbornness in dealing with other people, but then I watched an interview of the director Jacques Audiard.

Audiard said that Thomas' heated dismissal of the piano professor stems from Thomas' fear of thinking. He says that if Thomas were to even consider the ridiculousness and naivete of his intentions (which the professor is trying to show him), then his passion would suffocate under the pressure. He cannot pause or think because his thinking will produce enough doubt to prevent his passion from ever taking flight. In a single "fuck you," Thomas reveals an incredible depth to his character.

Now it makes sense to me why he must have noise in his life, why he seeks women so frequently, and why he drowns out all contemplation with his headphones pulsing trance-like electro beats along the Parisian streets he walks alone. Thomas is a restless migrant, not unlike the poor souls he kicks out of vacant buildings. Audiard even mentions that Thomas has no heart, which is debatable, but dark nonetheless. If he even pauses to consider the silent virtue of piano -- how it is his true home -- then he will grow homesick and realize how far away he is from the dream he once dreamed.

Instead, he trudges on, nestling his fear of the 'dream unrealized' by taking small doses at a time. He does not need to think. There is a rhythm that thinks for him when he plays the piano. Neither is it about hitting the right keys. Rather, and here is what Ebert commonly says on film, it is about how they are being hit. In the piano, Thomas finds his masculinity. He comes to realize the standing of a man saddles two worlds -- that of passionate aggression and that of powerful grace. It is in the balance of these two worlds where the male artist knows manhood thrives.
February 16, 2010
I had missed this, but was drawn to Audiard on the strength of A PROPHET, which I really loved. This one is similarly intimate in style---you are there in Tom's life, the violence and the beauty, the raggedy relationships with his dad, his thuggy business partners, a variety of women (all of whom he fucks, who can blame them, this actor Romain Duris is hot). There is an intelligence behind his depiction of a conscious stream of life that hurls at Tom as he tries to take himself to a better place.

Viewed this as a Netflix stream for the first time (on my laptop).
November 2, 2009
Decided to check out Jacques Audiard's previous effort before seeing Un Prophete. It was not bad, but didn't grip me. The acting was excellent though.
June 25, 2009
Not something I can relate to, and the lead guy is really ugly.

Art house existential drama about second chances, I think.
June 3, 2009
There is an intense internal and external struggle through which Tom goes, and Duris does a wonderful job portraying it. The Beat My Heart Skipped is a pristine film, full of hate, love, passion, adultery, disaster, and music. It's the culmination of these emotions, pulled off quite well by Audiard, that give this movie its appeal. Through camerawork and color, and even more so through acting, the film passes on to its audience a feeling of unease. It's when, at the films end, we jump two years into the future to see Tom's life as it stands, that we understand what the title really means. However, this ending lasts in the realm of 5 minutes, giving no time for us to fully contemplate it's meaning, or to really understand what's going on. Where the film excels at the beginning, its end caps the beauty off at a certain limit, leaving one feeling like it could have been better.
I did, however, enjoy the missing frames and jump cuts alluding to the title...
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2009
Good but the lack of any resolution is frustrating.
May 28, 2013
A hugely enjoyable, superbly directed film by Jacques Audiard (one of my favourite directors) with a cracking script and a terrific central performance from Romain Duris. Belter!
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
Romain Duris is fantastic, doing an exceptional work in the composition of his character with a special care for small details, in what turns out to be a compelling, fascinating character study about an dissatisfied man trying to have his life back and follow his dream.
½ September 22, 2009
Un petit chef d'oeuvre mà (C)connu !!!!
Audiard est un rÃÃ, (C)alisateur exceptionnel , j'ai trouvÃÃ, (C) Duris gÃÃ, (C)nial dans ce rÃÃ,´le .
Mon 1er coup de foudre avec Audiard !!!
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