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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life Reviews

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Ginette Vincendeau
Sight and Sound

In conjoining Jewish heritage and classic French chanson, Gainsbourg celebrates the hybridity of contemporary French culture, while its combination of realist narrative and poetic animation make it both a touching biopic and an inspired musical.

Full Review Source: Sight and Sound

June 18, 2012
James Plath
Movie Metropolis

I love it when a film surprises me, and "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" won me over in the very beginning and held me for the full 122 minutes because of its quirky passion and intelligence.

Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Original Score: 8/10

March 17, 2012
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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It's a comic-strip version of one man's life and times, but it's tres cool.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

December 9, 2011
Beth Accomando
KPBS.org

A cartoonist who created a graphic novel about Gainsbourg's life and who has now adapted it to the screen. The result is a film that's as playful as its subject matter although not nearly as provocative or complex.

Full Review Source: KPBS.org

November 18, 2011
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
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While the movie's on a roll, it's zesty, engaging and frisky.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

November 16, 2011
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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In short, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is a charmer.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

November 10, 2011
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Very nearly as inventive and fascinating as it is frustrating.

Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Original Score: 4/5

November 10, 2011
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
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French pop star Serge Gainsbourg was as much iconoclast as icon, so it's fitting that this fanciful biopic is both affectionate and irreverent.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

November 4, 2011
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express

Whatever its faults, it's better than Nine.

Full Review Source: East Bay Express

October 28, 2011
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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For better and for worse, Sfar's a fan, and his movie is a busy love letter to Gainsbourg that skates along the surface of the legend.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 27, 2011
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Why was Gainsbourg a hero? The film leaves the question hanging. I am afraid it was only because, like Sinatra, he did it his way. Which no one can deny.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

October 27, 2011
Betsy Sherman
Boston Phoenix

Elmosnino gives a deft and moving performance as the insecure piano player who reinvents himself as Gainsbourg, pop poet and improbable ladies' man, impelled to break taboos not only out of anger, but also to affirm his own existence.

Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 25, 2011
Staci Layne Wilson
StaciWilson.com

As a musical mischief maker who exuded endless existential ennui, Serge's complexity is just too ungainly for any one biopic - but G:AHL is great starter kit.

Full Review Source: StaciWilson.com

September 16, 2011
Liz Braun
Jam! Movies

Gainsbourg is a noble attempt and interesting enough to keep you watching, but it's bound to disappoint fans of the singer's and possibly will confuse any newcomer to the story.

Full Review Source: Jam! Movies | Original Score: 3/5

September 16, 2011
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
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
Oregonian

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

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: B-

September 9, 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
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