Life is a Bed of Roses (1983)



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With Life is a Bed of Roses, filmmaker Alain Resnais wanted to create a lighthearted tribute to three important French directors, each of whom defined a particular era in his country's cinema Melies (the first French filmmaker to use narrative--his most famous film is A Trip to the Moon), the impressionist L'Herbier (most famous for his inspirational avant garde work during the '20s) and Rohmer (most famed for his sextet of "Moral Tales" during the '60s). To present his chronicle of the human quest for a utopia of personal happiness and fulfillment, Resnais created two distinct narratives representing the past and present, and then interspliced them with a third more fantastical tale to provide contrast. Representing the past, the first tale centers on a monied eccentric who creates a "temple of happiness' in his chateau. There, guests are given a special potion, laid inside enormous cribs and surrounded by pleasant sensations to help them return to the blissful state of infancy. The second story takes place in the same chateau where a symposium on the techniques and philosophies of the eccentric are hotly debated and elaborated upon. Weaving its way between the two tales is the third, which represents the medieval fantasies of children in a forest who imagine the struggle between a wicked king and a brave good-hearted warrior. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Life is a Bed of Roses

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Resnais speculates on the utopian dream that life is infinitely perfectable, that human chaos, despair and horror can be spirited or educated out of existence. There are two stories, to correspond to each of these possibilities.

Jun 30, 2007 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It's more memorable for various isolated witticisms and images than it is as a coherent whole. And its flightier touches can be deadly.

Jun 30, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/5

The material manages at once to be both precious and dry, the staging is unprofitably claustrophobic, and the structure less ingenious than arbitrary.

Jun 30, 2007 | Full Review…

A unique and funny film from intellectual French director Resnais.

Jun 21, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Utopia is folly, though human fluidity here is the stuff of both Wagnerian myth and Gallic farce

Feb 14, 2010 | Full Review…

Often very funny and witty.

Feb 1, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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