The Man of my Life (L'homme de sa vie) (2007)
The family that centres the story is typically middle-class, but just happens to be well-adjusted and happy. Frederic is deeply in love with his wife, Frederique, and they have a jolly, rambunctious child. There are no clouds on their horizon. Long hours are spent soaking up the sun, swimming in nearby rivers and enjoying wine and food on terraces. One day Hugo, a new neighbor, appears. He is invited for dinner; one thing leads to another and conversation soon reveals that Hugo is gay. So begins a finely inscribed depiction of a growing friendship between two men: one is happily married, monogamous and deeply settled in his ways; the other is a restless free thinker who does not believe in love and moves freely between multiple relationships. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Man of my Life (L'homme de sa vie)
The Man of My Life has a hard time working up much beyond its visual prettiness.
All too often, though, characters bandy about platitudes like they're tennis balls...or shout for no reason.
A sumptuously illustrated but shallow fable of the grass-is-greener conflict between freedom and commitment.
Too much emphasis is placed on wall text that swirls around like the worst Magnetic Poetry.
A drama that steadily succumbs to self-conscious artiness, drunk on its own sense of contrived poetry and cloudy existential reflection.
Ultimately, there aren't any pointed conclusions about the meaning of life here other than the rather obvious one that under the still waters of an idyllic Provencal river, the currents run deep
The most visually resplendent movie so far this year (photographed by Michel Amathieu), yet it lacks the rich balance of sex and intellect that makes an André Téchiné film great.
If the film ultimately amounts to little more than a midlife coming-of-age story, it's richly imagined and filled with fanciful touches that are in keeping with its passionate subject.
The film, a purported examination of male sexuality, was directed and written by women, and thus all we get is two super-sensitive men stroking each others' emotional baggage instead of licking each others' *****.
It is beautiful, but ultimately empty and a little bit boring.
Despite good acting and intriguing theme, attraction of married hetero to his gay neighbor, the film feels familiar, from its countryside setting to stereotypical treatment of the homosexual; French title, Man of Her Life, is more accurate and ironic, too
Director Zabou Breitman, who co-wrote the screenplay, maintains intrigue by regularly cutting back to scenes from the overnight conversation between Frederic and Hugo, adding new insights to the growing friendship.
It is the unique pleasures to be found in The Man of My Life that are what linger.
Although the actors try gamely, they cannot fully rescue THE MAN OF MY LIFE from its flaws. There's a germ of a very good idea in the screenplay, but I just don't feel that the writers fully grasped what they were undertaking.
Audience Reviews for The Man of my Life (L'homme de sa vie)
"The Man of My Life," the second film from French filmmaker / screenwriter / actress Zabou Breitman, isn't very good, but at least it's ambitious. It tries to explore new emotional territory. While it's pretty seriously flawed and sometimes laughably flat-footed and pretentious, it is the work of a genuine artist. One that is still learning her craft; but then aren't we all.
The story, which Breitman co-wrote, introduces us to a delightful, down-to-earth family vacationing in a gorgeous villa in the south of France. (The setting is exquisite, and the cinematography is ravishing. This is the true French countryside.) Moving in next door is a single gay man, whom the family befriends.
Gradually through the course of the summer, a special bond develops between the father (played very well by Bernard Campan) and the neighbor. At times they seem like two giddy boys together. Little by little, it appears that they might be falling in love. Their conversations get quite deep, exploring feelings about family, love, relationships, children, etc. And each late-night conversation leaves them oddly moved and oddly uncomfortable. So much seems to be going on just below the surface.
The film doesn't have much of a dramatic arc. It doesn't want to be a coming-out melodrama, although there is a little bit of that. It mostly wants to raise questions and explore the emotional landscape of middle-aged men feeling the ground beneath them shifting uncomfortably.
The weaknesses in "The Man of My Life" are so significant that I cannot recommend it. But at a minimum, it makes me want to try one more Breitman film to see if she pulls off her interesting experiments with more success elsewhere. (She has directed two more films since completing this one.)
It is interesting to ponder what it must be like for straight married men who start to feel their sexuality open up in middle age. From what I can tell, this is happening quite a bit lately. My heart goes out to these men as they struggle to balance loyalty to family with loyalty to their own hearts.
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