La Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels)

Critics Consensus

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86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 14

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 485
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Movie Info

Bay of the Angels (La Baie des anges) stars Jeanne Moreau as a middle-aged Parisian gambling addict who leaves her husband and children and heads for the roulette tables of Nice. There she meets young and handsome Claude Mann--a meeting which coincides with Moreau's first winning streak. She latches onto Mann in the belief that he's a good luck charm, and remains with him even when she starts losing heavily. Mann, emotionally drained, walks out of the relationship. The film ends with Mann entreating Moreau to return with him to the bourgeois existence that she'd escaped in the first scene. Bay of the Angels was directed by Jacques Demy, just before he achieved international fame with his musical films Young Girls of Rochefort and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for La Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels)

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for La Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels)

  • Aug 15, 2014
    Right before Demy turned all cheerful and started to make pink musicals with Catherine Deneuve and a bunch of singers and dancers and acquiring an international reputation, but right after submerging us in an affair taking place in an adult-oriented world of cabarets, he made his most serious, straightforward drama called <i>Bay of Angels</i>, starring the sexy smoker Jeanne Moreau. Undoubtedly, it is also one of his best films, with Costa Gavras as an assistant director! Jeanne Moreau is Jacqueline 'Jackie' Demaistre, a woman who left her husband and children and heads for the roulette tables of Nice. There she meets a young man, Jean Fournier, who coincidentally stumbles upon her in a winning streak inside the casino. From now on, he will form an emotional attachment towards her. She will too, but unconsciously, because her primary intention is to stick with him and merely utilize him as a lucky horseshoe. A self-destructive relationship is born, both financially and emotionally, with the classic unconventional endings that Demy always presented. As I see it, <i>Bay of Angels</i> is a metaphor about relationships and a discussion regarding our perceptions of what constitutes probabilities (or chance, more informally). To address the first topic, Jean and Jackie represent relationships based on chance. Both meet in improbable (but not impossible) circumstances during a winning streak. All the numbers that Jean called in the roulette were successful. Witnessing this, and in an inconscious attempt to intensify her addiction problem, Jackie also calls the numbers Jean does right after he calls them. Of course, they are winners. Both are attracted to each other, but for whole different reasons. However, they do not speak of their reasons, leading to a lack of communication, and consequently, conflicts. My point is that they also gambled with their hearts, especially Jean. He was gambling with his heart and emotions with the danger of losing them because he decided to stay with a woman who clearly had a gambling addiction and was using them as a lucky charm. However, she was also gambling with her heart as she realized that she was also falling for him in a self-destructive relationship of dependence towards him. The main message here is, therefore, that every time a person is attracted to another person and decides to stick with him/her out of merely superficial reasons, without knowledge of his/her personality or personal backgrounds, you are gambling with your heart and emotions, which could be lost forever. The bet is a relationship. The prize that could be either won or lost is your happinnes, and in the most extreme of cases, your life. People can commit suicide out of a broken heart. This brings me to the second point: perceptions of probabilities. People have trouble believing the highly improbable series of events in the life of Jamal in <i>Slumdog Millionaire</i> (2008), but do not have trouble applying suspension of disbelief during a lucky streak in a casino sequence directed by, say, Scorsese, because everything is edited so stylishly and because "that's the point of the movie". This illogical bias does not only apply in movies, but in life as well. We are willing to assign a higher level of credibility to certain events, but not to others, when in fact probabilities are just human measures to quantify uncertainties. They are uncertainties because we are not sure about them given our limited scope of things. So it <b>could be</b> equally likely for Jamal to be asked about his life experiences in order, or Jackie and Jean having lucky streaks, or Jackie and Jean meeting in that casino at that time AND during a lucky streak. Where Demy is smart enough to introduce a sense of realism is in the following statement: it is highly improbable for a relationship to be successful if it was born right out of a perception of luck and financial interests. One of the best gamble-themed classics out there because of using it as a subtext of our perceptions of luck, <i>Bay of Angels</i> provides food for thought from a point of view of an addiction affecting human relationships, with a fantastic opening, an unexpected finale, and an engaging development of events that, no matter how predictable (err... probable?) we saw them before they happened, it is very improbable to figure out how everything ends. 92/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2014
    This early Jacques Demy film is beautifully shot and acted with exotic locations, elegant cars and a stirring Michel Legrand score. Unfortunately, the plot soon melts down into just a standard, cautionary tale about gambling. The arc is always the same. There's the initial, euphoric burst of beginner's luck. Then the subsequent frustration and squandering of funds, and an eventual descent into desperate times. Sound familiar? Jean (Claude Mann) is a novice gambler who gets hooked on casinos and meets a nihilistic divorcee (Jeanne Moreau, with platinum blonde hair) on the way. The pair become addicted to roulette, the most frivolous of games, and make lavish bets based on silly whims with scarcely a trace of strategy. Their behavior breeds exasperation rather than sympathy. Even the flashes of success they have don't seem plausible. Try "California Split" instead.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2013
    I think I have tapped most of the films from the French New Wave so far but this one remained outstanding for a bit. It was worth the wait. If the Long Weekend was the ultimate saga of an alcohol, here we have a tribute to gambling and how some can get sucked into literally gambling away a comfortable existence.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2010
    Jeane Moreau is mesmerizing in this role.
    Stefanie C Super Reviewer

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