The Lover (L'amant) (1992)

The Lover (L'amant) (1992)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Lover (L'amant) Photos

Movie Info

The Lover is director Jean-Jacques Annaud's adaptation of Marguerite Duras' minimalist 1984 novel. Set in French Indochina in 1929, the film explores the erotic charge of forbidden love. Jane March plays a French teenager sent to a Saigon boarding school, while Tony Leung is a 32-year Chinese aristocrat. They look at each and they both see a blinding white flash; it's kismet. He offers her a ride in his limousine and soon they meet in his "bachelor room" where they revel in a wide variety of creative sexual encounters. However, they both realize their love is doomed. She comes from a troubled family that includes a mentally-disturbed mother (Frederique Meininger) and drug-addicted brother (Arnaud Giovaninetti). It also appears that her family would not approve of an interracial tryst. But then neither would his family, since in order to inherit his father's wealth, he must not break from a traditional Chinese arranged marriage.
R (for graphic and explicit sexuality)
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Jane March
as The Young Girl
Tony Leung Ka Fai
as Chinese Man
Arnaud Giovaninetti
as Elder Brother
Melvil Poupaud
as Younger Brother
Lisa Faulkner
as Helene Lagonelle
Xiem Mang
as Chinese Man's Father
Xien Mang
as Chinese Man's Father
Philippe LeDem
as French Teacher
Ann Schaufuss
as Anne-Marie Stretter
Quach Van-an
as Driver
Tania Torrens
as Principal
Do Minh-vien
as Young Boy
Helene Patarot
as Assistant Mistress
Nguyen Thi Hoa
as Young Servant
Frédéric Auburtin
as Liner Pianist
Nguyen Van Lam
as Kitchen Helper
Minh Trang
as Dormitory Supervisor
Truong Thu
as Bus Driver
Vu Kim Trong
as Young Girl's Coolie
Vu Dinh Thi
as Ferry Captain
Lu Van Trang
as Bus Controller
Alido H. Gaudencio
as Anne-Marie Stretter's Driver
Ly Nguyen Phat
as Servant
Lam Thanh
as Servant
Jeanne Moreau
as Narrator
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Lover (L'amant)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Never mind that in portraying passion, the two seem to be demonstrating the proper use of the Salad Shooter.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Scratch away the steamy, evocative surface, remove Jeanne Moreau's veteran-voiced narration, and you have only art-film banalities.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Annaud and his collaborators have got all of the physical details just right, but there is a failure of the imagination here; we do not sense the presence of real people behind the attractive facades of the two main actors.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 29, 1992
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Lover (L'amant)

On the whole, L'amant strikes me as aloof and disconnected. It has aspirations of being elevated and artsy but offers no reason for empathy or audience connection with the characters. In the end I didn't really care whether or not the two lovers stayed together or parted ways. A beautiful but rather hollow film.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

This movie is set in 1920s Saigon. On a chance encounter on a ferry crossing a rich Chinese man in his 30s meets a French school girl. They start an affair. He loves her but she seems to stay with him for his money as her family are poor. He wants to marry her but is forbidden because of their race and his father has planned an arranged marriage for him. She leaves for France but he never forgets her. Movie content is a little uneasy at times. Also sexually explicit.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Another great Annaud oeuvre. I love the book and this film was very faithful to Marguerite Duras's wonderful, evocative narration. I was very skeptical because so much of Duras's sad, beautiful work is often too abstract, contradictory, ambiguous, and yet Annaud did manage to make episodes linear, comprehensible, but not trivial. There's still so much properly left unsaid about the relationship of a 15 year old French girl and a 32 year old Chinese man. It was quite a relief, actually, to have so much vague, fascinating content put in images, and feelings incarnated in real people. Jeanne Moreau's voice was exactly the type of voice I wanted to hear in an adaptation of L'Amant. Contained, breathy, grave. Tony Leung Ka Fai was also, quite honestly, an accurate choice to play the lovesick man. His performance is one of the most captivating things about the movie, apart from the cinematography and the richness of the story itself. It was a very pleasant surprise, I didn't think I would like it. It's beautiful.

Elvira B
Elvira B

Super Reviewer

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