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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life Reviews

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Nathalie Atkinson
National Post

What elevates Gainsbourg above Behind The Music territory is that peppered with his songs, something the Gainsbourg family has never let any other biographical feature do.

Full Review Source: National Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 16, 2011
Norman Wilner
NOW Toronto

You can't say Gainsbourg lacks vision. It's got vision to spare, really. That's the problem.

Full Review Source: NOW Toronto | Original Score: 2/5

September 16, 2011
Tony Medley
Tolucan Times

Since director Sfar didn't think it important to deal with the "facts" of Gainsbourg's interesting life, what's the point of seeing his phantasmagoric film?

Full Review Source: Tolucan Times | Original Score: 1/10

September 15, 2011
Greg Quill
Toronto Star
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While Sfar doesn't dare tinker with the facts or sully the mystique, he gains enormous traction via the imaginative and subversive manner he has devised to tell a story that, in many ways, is hard to believe.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/4

September 15, 2011
Shawn Levy

It's never more than an intro to a man who merits volumes.

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: B-

September 9, 2011
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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A sloggy fantasia about Gainsbourg's life featuring such oddities as a giant, hook-nosed puppet that acts as the singer's alter ego, as well as a parade of showy sequences involving grand Gainsbourg amours Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: C-

September 8, 2011
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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A lively bout between bio-pic and fairy tale.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

September 6, 2011
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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If only all biopics were as entertaining as this...

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

September 2, 2011
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Unconventional, imaginative, nothing if not audacious, "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" is a portrait of creativity from the inside, a serious yet playful attempt to find an artistic way to tell an emotional truth.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 1, 2011
John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
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One could hardly make an honest movie about Gainsbourg that wasn't as recklessly ambitious as this.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

September 1, 2011
Chris Cabin

drifts for much of its extended runtime like a stream of Technicolor tobacco smoke

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/5

September 1, 2011
Sean Gandert
Paste Magazine

Gainsbourg ends up questionable when it comes to actual biography, but it does a great job capturing the man's spirit, which it's hard not to believe Serge himself would find far more important.

Full Review Source: Paste Magazine | Original Score: 7.1/10

September 1, 2011
Michelle Orange

A few shots of full frontal and an actual devil to point to are poor substitutes for exposure and depth of character.

Full Review Source: Movieline | Original Score: 6.5/10

September 1, 2011
Ian Buckwalter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beyond its fantasy elements, Sfar's film doesn't color outside the lines as much as he might like us to think.

Full Review Source: NPR | Original Score: 5.8/10

August 31, 2011
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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There's one good reason to see this biopic of the French pop-cabaret songster Serge Gainsbourg, and that's its lead actor, Erik Elmosnino.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

August 31, 2011
David Noh
Film Journal International

A truly wonderful music biopic in which Serge Gainsbourg comes enthrallingly to life with audacious glamour, intensity and genius.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

August 31, 2011
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Film and director-writer have won awards at home and abroad, as has Eric Elmosnino for his portrayal of the insolent yet winsome title hero, who also displays unheroic traits.

Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews

August 31, 2011
Alison Willmore
Time Out New York
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Despite the attention the film pays to the divide between the man as the ungainly, loving second-gen immigrant versus the boozy provocateur, it's not a portrait of much psychological depth.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

August 31, 2011
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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Laetitia Casta steals the movie as Bardot, slinking down the hall in a miniskirt and knee-high black boots, leading a dog on a leash, then cavorting nude behind a bedsheet as Gainsbourg knocks out a song on the piano.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

August 31, 2011
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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Still, for all the 40-year-old filmmaker's interpolated animations and puppets, for the insouciant, slapdash tone that characterizes his graphic novels, and for his protagonist's proclivity for scandal, the movie is too timidly conceived by half.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

August 30, 2011
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