My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Life to Live (It's My Life) (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 5, 2007's a little out there...but then again what do you expect from a Godard movie?Kudos to the machine gun jump cuts and the rockin song they play on the juke box...anyone know what it is?
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2007
Out of all the films by Jean-Luc Godard I've seen so far, "VIVRE SA VIE" is one of the best, and undoubtedly the most accessible. Anna Karina just radiates on screen (as per usual) and Godard gives his characters room to breathe and tones down his signature stylistic flair to refreshing effect. Some of the most interesting and witty dialogue I've heard from Godard is present here, and feels pulled from a movie made tomorrow (so ahead of it's time). I didn't care for the film's abrupt ending at all, but it was pivotal for the point Godard was trying to make about the subject of prostitution.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2010
the list of actresses that are so polarizing on screen that you cant take your eyes off of them is short, but anna karina belongs on the short list with stars like monroe, jolie, and johannson. she is mesmerizing to watch, and in this film the camera never really leaves her. the final scene is completely nonsensical, but the rest of the film leading up to it was interesting enough and the camera angles godard chooses for many of his shots adds an entire element on interest to the film. the plot and dialogue are reductively simple, but overall the film is very watchable, especially for godard or karina fans.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2006
I watched about 6 Godard movies in a week's time a few years ago, so they kind of blur. However I remember liking this one...
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2010
This tale of a reluctant prostitute is surprisingly emotional and affecting, given the rest of Godard's catalog. Anna Karina's melancholy beauty in this role will be hard to forget. The film is also less stylistically radical than might be expected -- the main jarring elements are the 12 scene divisions (announced with cards, silent-movie style), an oddly extended clip of "The Passion of Joan of Arc" and a rather cold, abrupt ending. Elsewhere, a prolonged conversation about the connection between thought and words is surprisingly heady, even if it somewhat shuts down the story's momentum. I was smitten with a certain snatch of melodic score that nagged throughout the film, yet was somehow compelling.
Super Reviewer
January 9, 2010
This heartbreaking, intimately expressive piece of art graced me with one of the best theatrical experiences I'm likely to have. Instead of studying a broad political or social idea, Godard centers his story on the struggle of a single woman instead. That woman is played to perfection by the beautiful Anna Karina, whose gestures and line deliveries feel more natural than almost anything I've seen on screen. Everything that I want to see in a film is here in Godard's vision, aesthetically and thematically. A film scholar covered its importance and history in my cinematheque's pre-screening discussion, but it's the feeling driving this picture that matters to me. A masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
Godard's most accessible and powerful works of his career. I truly love this film.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2006
A whole nother side of Godard.
October 16, 2012
Godard manages in this film to do something almost impossible--he creates unreliable narrators in a story without narrators. The tiny tics of the actors, the nuances of the dialogue, and the intricate tones of his cinematography create a masterful irony that undermines the face value of almost every person and every scene. We are coaxed not just to doubt the truth and genuineness of the characters' actions, but of film itself as a medium, and of our own lives. It is at once both exceedingly meta--to the point of almost self-parody in a few scenes--and very personally engaged with its main character, Nana. Anna Karina is absolutely breathtaking. This is a movie where literally every scene is fascinating in some way, from pure aesthetics to the tiny messages and emotional cues hiding in every camera angle. It's an hour and a half long, but you'll need a whole afternoon to start to feel satisfied you've dissected it enough for one sitting. A thoroughly gorgeous film.
June 13, 2007
Capitalism and sexism lead a woman to prostitution in Jean-Luc Godard's "Vivre sa vie." Film tells its tragic story with a profound interest in sound and speech: the fits and starts of the gorgeous theme, the crushing silence of Carl Theodor Dreyer's "Passion of Joan of Arc" and images that hide faces, foreground speech. Anna Karina's performance adds emotional depth to the film's exploration of human expression in a detached society.
March 26, 2012
The most important lesson I've learned from classic French cinema is that every last goddamned woman in France is a prostitute.
October 16, 2011
Breathtaking,fascinating 12-chapter potrait about a hapless girl in Paris who turns to prostitution,play to perfectio by Anna Karina(who was then wed to Godard),and who looks beautiful beyond words. The film seems a celluloid valentine to Karina,upon whose mere presence Godard seems to be transfixed. Close-ups of her in the film are made consciously in the tradition of Gish,Falconetti,and Louise Brook,and her dance around the billiard table is one of the greates moments in world cinema,unforgettable. And than there are those moments whe she just seems to be looking straight at you,and her conversation with real-life philosopher Brice Parain,'s just such an amazing film,with an stunning black-and-white cinematography by Raoul Coutard,that together with Anna Karina makes for heavenly beauty. It was the discovery that Jean-Luc Godard loved Karina more in moving images than in life that may have broken their marriage later on. Truly he just can't seems to be able to take his camera-eyes from his wife,just making her immortal,eternal!
July 25, 2009
Glad to see it wasn't a typical hollywood portrayal of prostitution. Anna Karina is certainly gorgeous and the cinematography shows it, but this movie is lacking something major.
June 2, 2008
A great showcase of Godard's unconventional style. At the same time moving and somewhat sad. A great performance by Karina who will have you convinced the first 5 minutes you see her. Convinced of what you ask? See the film and you'll know what I mean.
July 10, 2007
Anna Karina gives a compelling performance as Nana, a Parisian salesgirl turned prostitute in this powerful classic of the French New Wave. This is probably my favorite Godard film. (Although "Contempt" is an extremely close second.)
March 25, 2007
Can there be anything more incredible than this. Godard's 4th film is ground breaking with the typical style that characterized the French New Wave, it's a film with passion. Above all, it's how films should be done!
September 6, 2015
This is my first Godard film. Beautifully shot. Karina is ADORABLE. Lots of interesting shots, like backs of heads and slightly awkward centering of people. Melodramatic but real. I enjoyed it very much.
½ July 28, 2015
Jean-Luc Godard's "Vivre Sa Vie"/ My life to Live - remains a vital and interestingly "current" film. We follow Anna Karina's character over what is presented in "episodes." It is largely improvised and uses prostitution as metaphor for the way we all must give up more than a little of ourselves to obtain the life we want. While it is impossible to view this film as a sort of diatribe regarding economics and ethics, what gives this film it's "life" is Karina's performance and sad little story. Filmed brilliantly by Raoul Coutard, the movie has the feel of a documentary. It tells the story of an ambitious but lonely young woman trying to survive in a world that makes it challenging for her to get ahead. In many ways, the film works as a societal commentary and melodrama. No way around the fact that this movie is just awesome.
½ July 26, 2015
"Vivre Sa Vie," translated roughly as "My Life to Live" follows a woman who slowly descends from being in a relationship to becoming a prostitute in order to get by. Such subject matter was, for the most part, not touched by Hollywood at the time of its release since it was very edgy and uncomfortable, and God forbid that Hollywood's audiences get uncomfortable when watching a film. But this wasn't Hollywood; this is part of the French New Wave.

The film is told in 12 episodic tales which have titles and their own sections of the tale, such as certain Tarantino films including Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds. For me, 12 seemed a little much, and it felt like it could have been done with a few of the episodes left out. I am not complaining about the length, it is still relatively a short movie, but I think I remember one or two episodes that were too short to be considered their own episodes in my opinion.

I think it is great for Godard to work with such subject matter; the only "explicit" film I remember seeing from around this era was "Persona" by Bergman, and I was shocked at the language they used - I thought people were only that vulgar in movies towards the end of the 60s and onwards. However, there are shots that seem uninteresting, including the final shot of the film, and the final scene in general makes the film end on a very abrupt note.

This is a good character study which has darker material than the mise-en-scene/lighting/tone of the film. I would have liked to see this darkness portrayed in the visuals, but this is still a good film.
½ May 2, 2015
A frank, unsentimental portrayal of a woman living her life inhibited by societal mores, "Vivre sa vie" is a relatively flawless film with self-aware camerawork and a perfect performance from Anna Karina.
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