Pauline At The Beach (1983)

Pauline At The Beach




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Pauline a la Plage is the third of French filmmaker Eric Rohmer's "Comedies et Proverbes." Pauline (Amanda Langlet) is the teen-aged cousin of the seemingly more worldly and sensible Marion (Arielle Dombasle). Both girls become entwined in amorous escapades while vacationing at the beach. It gradually develops that Marion is the one least capable of handling herself, while Pauline grows in maturity from her summertime experiences. It is nothing short of amazing how Eric Rohmer can take the most … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Eric Rohmer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 4, 2003
MGM Home Entertainment


as Pauline

as Louisette

as Sylvain Freund
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Pauline At The Beach

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

I hope that Pauline at the Beach will win new admirers for Mr. Rohmer, one of the most original and elegant film makers at work today in any country.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

The result is a film of devastating irony and deep compassion.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Another masterpiece from French director Eric Rohmes about the different sides of love.

Full Review… | August 19, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

The beauty in the film is in the natural way the slight story evolves...

Full Review… | August 20, 2001
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of those small, deliberately paced, but charming foreign films in which not much happens plot wise, but a lot happens to the characters emotionally.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Pauline At The Beach


This film saved Eric Rohmer in my book. I bought it by chance, just figured I ought to be a good cinephile and give him a second chance to really "shine" after Ma Nuit Chez Maud, which I liked but didn't love. Luckily I thought Pauline la Plage is a wonderful film; may seem very simple at first but there's something about it that's really enrapturing.
In the film, Pauline, a young girl who's never been in love, is spending a few days at the beach under the care of her cousin Marion, an exuberant woman, maybe in her mid-thirties. One day, after a swim, they come across Pierre, an old flame of Marion's from the days before her marriage -and divorce-. Immediately, an acquaintance of Pierre, Henri, the oldest of the group, sneaks into the conversation and introduces himself to the girls. So a party of four is constituted and drama follows.
These four characters are excellently developed. Rohmer discreetly slips us anecdotes and impressions from their past, and engages us in their conversations about love and lust over wine and dinner. Their talk is candid and insightful but not overly philosophical. They are intelligent people, discussing serenely and comparing their moral viewpoints as their relationships with each other change in slight ways. Pierre believes in true, lasting love, Marion in love at first sight, Henri in having as many women as come his way, and Pauline just wants to find someone she can know, and then love.
Soon enough the occasion arises to put the 'talk' in practice, and for attitudes to challenge each other. Henri and Marion begin an affair, much to Pierre's despair. Pauline observes the Henri-Marion-Pierre love triangle from a distance, at times with concern and at times with some disgust, until she meets a boy at the beach that puts her mind on her own romantic education. Then, in a narrative twist so well introduced that at the moment I didn't grasp the weight it would have in the rest of the story, an unfortunate discovery leads to misunderstandings that put everyone's "love" under scrutiny.
The film unfolds by the sea. Whether walking by the shore, going knee-deep into the waves, sunbathing, sneaking into each other's houses through the window, laying in bed in the morning, riding bicycles around town, the camera follows each character under a beautiful yellow light. They walk around skimpily dressed at all times, as if exposing themselves, expecting something to happen, to make contact. Their state of mind is hazy and decadent; they maintain a casual but steady physical contact with each other, they live in the present, they seldom talk about their lives in the city. I can only compare the feel with the first chapters of Bonjour, Tristesse , abandon and bliss mixed with a little anguish.
Pauline la Plage's charm is the curiosity it sparks. It seems to lead somewhere, to a conflict we don't quite foresee, and then delivers it in a purely cinematic manner. It also rests on the charisma of its characters, and on dialog great enough to construct believable characters and make them worth caring for. I found it both amusing and thought-provoking, and a worthy hour-and-a-half escapade towards a final asseveration we have known all along, but were maybe too cowardly to accept as a solution.

Elvira B

Super Reviewer


Pretty enjoyable film about some eloquent Frenchies talking about l'amour and trying to fuck each other. One one hand it's a critique of adult relationships and on the other a coming of age film. Rohmer gets a lot of flak for his talkiness which I can't disagree with but don't think it's really that bad neither. His characters are as real and human as any other director's. He presents them with delicacy and subtlety, peeling away their surface to reveal the essence of their personality. It's not surprising to see a Rouch film on Rohmer's top 10, since his method is along the same lines.

Nearly a traditional comedy of errors -- yet with a depth of characterization that makes all the difference.

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