Wild Grass (Les Herbes Folles) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 10, 2011
A man haltingly pursues a woman whose wallet he found.
If this is the French New Wave, then I should start watching the Old Wave. In Wild Grass there is so little attention paid to good exposition that I found myself lost, wondering about the characters' relationships to each other even after the first act was a memory. And the performance by Andre Dussolier does little to reveal his character's motivations. Performances like these are good when the story is clear and solid, but Resnais's concentration is on that which is unclear, so the sum is a character who behaves strangely but whose motivations for his strangeness remain a mystery, unconnected to the random shots of weeds. And when he yells and snaps in a romantic story we wonder what the whole point is.
Overall, there are people who find this absurdist alienation interesting and refreshing, but I'm not one of them.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2010
Wild Grass has the most fantastic opening scene. We have this vivid imagery, charming narration, an endearing character, and the introduction to an intriguing plot. Everything seems set up just right to lead to something amazing. Well, the thing is, the film opens on it's highest point. While the rest it good, it just feels like a let down after the opening material. Plus, I'm sort of confused why it opens with Marguerite when she really doesn't spend as much time as Georges in the film. I mean, it just seems like she plays a more subordinate role in the thing. Anyway, that's just overanalyzing things, but still there is just something ... off about the rest of the film and I cannot totally put a finger on what it was. I did like how the story is something that at first seems conventional, but does not play out in the way that you would expect it to at all - by and large. Or rather, it guess to the places you would expect, but takes an alternate route to get there. I liked Marguerite quite a lot, but the rest of the characters are sort of forgettable. Idk, the film had it's moments and really is good. It just felt like it was missing something.
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2010
There is a notion to make over 65's retake their driving test for fear they have become dangerous to other road users and themselves. I fear a similar test for senility may be required for revered auteur filmakers to protect their legacy. This film is utterly atrocious in almost every way (the score is ok). Presumably the distinguished cast and crew deferred to Resnais' every whim no matter how crackpot on account of his presumed 'genius'. The list of flaws is endless but succinctly, it seems to condone violent stalking and sexual assault by married octagenarian leches (who bizarrly are supposed to be 50) - women might initially be resistant to one's advances but hold out and then you can ignore them when finally they wake up and see your obvious (?) charms. I sincerely hope for Resnais that this is not thinly veiled autobiography. The characters are totally miscast and unbelievably inconsistent and insincere, the plot makes no sense, tonally it shifts from thrilller to drama to sex farce at will .............. I could go on - almost worth seeing as a spectacle of ineptitude.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2010
"Wild Grass" is a terribly boring film from renowned filmmaker Alain Resnais ("Last Year at Marienbad"). It is visually ravishing, but the story is almost completely uninteresting and horrifically slow-paced. About all that could be done with "Wild Grass" is to turn the sound off and watch the extraordinary visuals. Make your own soundtrack by turning on your favorite music.

The visual panache of "Wild Grass" often reminded me of Pedro Almodovar. In fact, one could argue that "Wild Grass" bears some resemblance to Almodovar's most recent film, "Broken Embraces." Both are love letters to cinema. The actual story playing out on screen is almost beside the point. What one is meant to enjoy and reflect on is the movie-making process itself.

If this is to any degree true of Resnais's approach to this project, my response would be: People don't love cinema because it contains beautiful images flickering on a screen. They love cinema because it provides beautiful images that mean something. The story is what conveys the meaning. On its own, cinematography cannot do much. Without a great screenwriter, a director can't make cinema magic, no matter how good he or she is. "Wild Grass" woefully lacks a screenwriter.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2010
Alain Resnais proves at 87 years old that he still has imagination, delivering a curious nonsensical fable that plays with the conventions of the genre and with our expectations - and the final result may feel like not much, but I have to admit how daring this is.
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2010
Kaleidoscopic, bizarre, and finally, maddening. Wild Grass started out as a realistic examination of characters ? with some surrealistic undercurrents ? through a serendipitous intersection before careening off a cliff into a canyon of WTF. Early on, there was some darkness in the stalker quality with which Georges Palet wanted to know more about Marguerite Muir?s life, after he recovered her stolen wallet. But the film simply refused to go anywhere with this approach. It started observational and oddly charming, if not slightly disturbing, but slowly grew exasperating. The film totally whiffs attempting whimsy in trying to build a connection between Georges and Marguerite where it should?ve been, you know, building their characters. Oh, and by the way, Georges has a wife, and she knows about his apparent longing for Marguerite, but she has this knowing about Georges and his (never-revealed) dark past that makes the courtship ? or whatever you want to call it ? something that?s understood, if not a bit sad to her. And Marguerite has a friend, too, that somehow weaves herself as a primary character in the story, and yet I?m not sure why.

In fact, at some point, the movie loses nearly all hinges, and practically becomes a parody of European arthouse cinema. Colorful, yes, but about as nourishing as lollipop regurgitation. Forget about incomplete character arcs and under- and un-developed characters; this movie ventures into a quiet absurdism where characters seem to do whatever, and things happen onscreen, but nothing is really tethered together with any kind of logic. But hey, pretty colors! Interstitial scenes of grass outgrowths on sidewalks (er, wild grass?)! Actresses that look like the French Tea Leoni (this is a good thing), French Idina Menzel, and a French muppet! So yeah, pretty disappointing considering the buzz I had heard going in. The final amusement of the film is that it may have oddly given me everything that I ever wanted for these characters: violent, violent death. Well, at least the possibility of it (the ?how? and ?why? of this will be explained in the film). Hey, a guy can hope.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2010
"Wild Grass" starts with Marguerite(Sabine Azema), a dentist, going shoe shopping. After she leaves the store, her purse is snatched and she returns the shoes to the store, needing the money to get home. However, she does not call the police, preferring to soak in her bathtub instead. Georges(Andre Dussollier), an ex-convict who has been married for 30 years to Suzanne(Anne Consigny), prefers to get a new battery for his watch instead of buying a new one. When returning to his car, he finds Marguerite's wallet, containing her pilot's license. After debating about what to do and trying to call her, he returns the wallet to the local police station.

Directed by Alain Resnais, "Wild Grass" is an engaging and light movie about obsession. It is never made clear what Georges went to prison for(that's okay), just that it is violent and quite possibly memorable. He still has violent thoughts, especially on petty items like women who wear black underwear with white pants after Labor Day. Like somebody who has been out of circulation for a while, he has trouble adjusting to the new world he finds, preferring a manual lawnmower and old movies.(Next time, please don't give away the ending.) So, his journey takes on a circular path towards a fake ending, before a real one and one truly enigmatic piece of dialogue that makes perfect sense if you think about it a little.
January 20, 2015
Another ridiculous French movie. Plot ran out 3/4 way through and then evaporated. 2 stars til the middle
½ July 24, 2013
I really have to learn to judge whether to see a movie or not by the audience liked it number (here 38%) instead of the Tomatometer (here 66%). I must agree with one of the audience reviewers who said the director (who once made real masterpieces such as Hiroshima Mon Amour, which, incidentally, I loved) must have become senile, because this is an absurd mess. The leading lady is 60 (her real age when the film was made--I looked up all the actors ages) and looks like she borrowed Ronald MacDonald's wig, but she so fascinates the leading man, who is supposed to be 50, is actually 64 and looks 84, that he falls in love with her, even though he has a 46 year old wife at home who looks like a 35 year old beauty queen. What idiot cast this travesty? And what woman in her right mind would just have to meet this nut job AFTER he's slashed all four of her car tires instead of running to the closest judge for a restraining order? The little girl who appears at the very end and, apropos of nothing in the plot, asks her mother if she can eat cat crunches says it all about this movie.
August 7, 2012
Les Herbes Folles is an odd film. The first part of the film is replete with deadpan humour and bizarre situations. The second half of the film channels a bit of Pierrot le Fou and tries to leave the audience guessing. Director Alain Resnais leaves the audience guessing, providing a Hollywood ending followed by the ārealā? ending five minutes later. Two random strangers are connected by a lost wallet and become infatuated with each other. There is a sense that Georges, who found the wallet, is hiding something but it is never totally revealed, only suggested. Marguerite initially wants nothing to do with him but later cannot keep Georges out her mind.

Non-sequiturs jar the audience concentration throughout the film and there is frequent use of symbolism. A broken fly along with an out of control plane, a man repainting his house as he tries to renovate himself. Some moments are absurd, like a party in the police station keeping officers from their duties or a dentist wilfully causing patients pain. The world is a random, crazy place.

The audience plays the role of observer, due to overhead shots or shots filming people from behind. The camera pans from one corner of the room to another and it is obvious several minutes have elapsed. The narrator shows the thoughts of the characters, their doubts, and second thoughts, instead of being an all-knowing voice. I think that these directorial strategies were instrumental in grabbing the attention of the audience and helping them relate to the characters.
½ December 6, 2011
I don't understand why you rated this 67%.
Really, I don't
½ June 25, 2011
Interesting drama, funny in a weird way.
March 13, 2011
Look, I don't need everything spelled out for me, I don't need the characters to be likable, I just need events and behavior to make some fucking sense within the world the filmmaker is presenting. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in this movie acts as if they are out of their cotton-picking minds. It's been a long time since I've seen Resnais' "Last Year In Marienbad" (I also recall praying for that movie to end). Maybe it's my problem, I don't get him, and I don't get this. All I'll say is that I watched "RED", starring Bruce Willis, earlier this week and I'd prefer watching Helen Mirren mowing people down with a machine gun over one minute of this lofty nonsense.
½ February 2, 2011
Nnnnnice! Visually gorgeous, engagingly baffling work from the master who brought us "Last Year at Marienbad" all those years ago. If you don't like that, you won't like this.
January 30, 2011
Watched this last night, mainly because I was astonished that the guy who did HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR is still making movies. Not great but worth a look-see. Kind of like Bunuel without the humor.
½ January 12, 2011
Godard would be so proud
½ January 11, 2011
Strange little flick from the French New Waver behind Last Year at Marienbad. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Wild Grass, but a day or two later it's basically left my mind - unlike the work of a director like David Lynch, which you may not understand perfectly at first, but you can't seem to get it out of your head.
January 6, 2011
(****): Thumbs Up

A strangely, entertaining film. Very unique and intriguing throughout. One of 2010's best films.
December 4, 2010
I love off-beat movies but what the heck did I just watch? What a waste! I would have thrown it in the garbage if I hadn't rented it!!!!
½ November 22, 2010
5.0 Slow and difficult to believe. The woman cast as Georges' wife is way too young and beautiful!
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