Late August, Early September Reviews
February 9, 2009
I see the word "sublime" used in reference to this movie. Sublime is not the word I'd choose here. If anything, I'd place this in the anti-sublime camp. If there is any kind of transcendence in this film -- outside of death, it comes at the very end, where Vera, the 16-year-old ex-lover of the 41-year-old Adrien appears to finally find true happiness with a boyfriend in her own age range. To qualify as sublime, I think a work needs to be rising above the mundane, the quotidian, the commonplace. I associate it with some kind of happiness, with joy, with a space positively positioned above the fray of the everyday. Rogers and Astaire dancing above all, every time they dance, is a sublime activity, for instance, elevating them almost into the realm of surreal bliss, both for them and for the audience. Ironically, the only real joy that can be found in this story is the joy of Vera dating a boy her own age -- what might be considered commonplace in any "normal" context. This story reminds me of a pinball machine, with characters, none of them very thrilled with their lives, bouncing off of each other in a kind of random existential dance. In pinball, the downer is game over, the end of the game. Here, again almost ironically, the end of game is signaled by a pure expression of love at the close.
November 30, 2010
Nov 2010 - This is another fantastic work of Assayas. The dialogues and the characters are so real that you just know them personally and the actors help so much. The death is very central but it is never overdramatized. The lapses and chapters are also quite crucial and allow part of the story to take place where there is no narration for it and we don't see it. This of course reminds me of Ozu. From what the name suggests and also the realism of the characters and their relationship, I see a tribute to him. Finally the character of Gabriel (Mathieu Amalric) is fantastic. He has the love, doubt, egoism, superficiality of almost any want to be artist that one can imagine.
July 28, 2013
Just wonderful, told with the French languor that allows you to see into the characters that is so rare in American film.
May 11, 2009
it started off slow and not very interesting, so the only reason I stuck with it is really that it was directed by olivier assayas. (that's really the only reason I watched it in the first place.) it got better and eventually the characters seemed more interesting. but it never got great or essential or anything.
I've been watching a lot of okay-not-bad-but-not-great movies lately. it's really boring trying to write (and read) reviews when every movie leaves such a vague impression. I've reached that point in my netflix subscription (again) where I'm just not that excited about any of the movies in my queue and am still not all that excited after watching them...
January 15, 2009
Assayas, the director, tries to grab at the idea of human beings and their relation to themselves, their existences, and other beings, and he captures it by having a deft and loving touch. The plot follows a group of people that are friends and family to some other of the main characters, and the film observes them as they try to relate to others and find some kind of stablity or livelihood or whatever else they need. The cast is perfect in their roles, never overstepping the material and dragging it down into melodrama and the cliche. The film comes in and out of these peoples lives at different moments within about a year and unlike a film like [i]Rachel Getting Married, [/i]which shares in the observational film making, where the characters beings come out in three or so day. This film shows us snippets of their lives and thus showing how they have moved and what they are trying to do with their lives and who they want to be, not necessarily their relationships and the destructive and mending qualities of those relationships. Also, like Woody Allen (minus the fixed characters) the film is very talented in understanding the relationships of these people and seeing how they evolve and it seems completely real because the cast walks that thin line gracefully and because the script looks at the little things but does not try and make them big but simply shows them for what they are and how they can represent someones life.
I really hope this review is not too confusing and wordy (well I know its wordy). But it is a powerful and yet subtle film that deserves studying and a search for purpose because it is so delicately made and makes for amazing cinema. If you can find it, watch it because it is very strong.