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A '60s time capsule stuffed with ideas about politics, pop culture, and the battle of the sexes, Masculine-Feminine is one of Godard's classic black-and-white films. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a young idealist trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, takes a job interviewing people for a marketing research firm. He moves in with aspiring pop singer Madeleine (Chantal Goya), and their affair often involves her two sexy roommates. Paul, however, is disillusioned by the growing commercialism in society, while Madeleine just wants to be successful. The story is told in a series of 15 unrelated vignettes.

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Critic Reviews for Masculine-Feminine

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (2)

  • Using neither crime nor the romance of crime but a simple romance for a kind of interwoven story line, Godard has, at last, created the form he needed. It is a combination of essay, journalistic sketches, news and portraiture, love lyric and satire.

    August 30, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Its parodies and satires are recklessly inventive, and its fundamental pessimism isn't as flip as it may at first seem.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • May not have aged any better than Godard's other films of the period, but that doesn't mean Paul and company don't continue to ask questions and spout the opinions of the newly enlightened.

    October 14, 2005 | Rating: 4/4
  • An odd, scattered, free-form, but thoroughly engaging film.

    June 17, 2005 | Full Review…
  • This is the Godard that fans would like to take to the grave: jaundiced, naughty, immediate, very much alive.

    May 5, 2005 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • You can appreciate Godard's vigorous early visual style.

    April 14, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Masculine-Feminine

  • Aug 03, 2018
    You can almost feel Godard's sexist disdain towards female ignorance in a society that he clearly criticizes as completely plunged in consumerism, pop culture and alienation, but at the same time he curiously shows us how he is aware of his intellectual arrogance as well.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2017
    Smart, philosophical, cool, sexy, playful, subversive, and perfect to the time period - I just loved 'Masculin Feminin'. There is an indie, impromptu feeling to the film, which is told in chapters, and includes beautiful Parisian street scenes, thought-provoking quotes, and great performances from Jean-Pierre Léaud and Chantal Goya, as well as the supporting cast. It's said that director Jean-Luc Godard didn't have an actual script, and instead used hand-written notes he would come up with the night before. While that could have led to disorganized chaos, here it works, and brilliantly. Sometimes heard with street noise in the background, the dialogue seems natural even when it's provocative, or when characters are in sequences that are essentially interviews. It's not a linear, simple story and that may put some viewers off, but if you think about it, along the way Godard touches on love, sex, homosexuality, politics, the antiwar movement, violence, race relations, pop culture, and of course, the youth of 1960's France, saying a lot in this film. There are surreal elements, and hey, you even get a cameo from Brigitte Bardot. Very entertaining, and on a number of levels. Quotes: "If you kill a man, you're a murderer. If you kill millions of men, you're a conqueror. If you kill them all, you're God." "We went to the movies often. The screen would light up, and we'd feel a thrill. But Madeline and I were usually disappointed. But Madeline and I were usually disappointed. The images were dated and jumpy. Marilyn Monroe had aged badly. We felt sad. It wasn't the movie of our dreams. It wasn't the total film we carried inside ourselves. That film we would have liked to make, or more secretly, no doubt, the film we wanted to live." On Bessie Smith and race: "They have no clue what she's singing about. "Here's my big fat black ass." She's not singing about love. ... It's not about desire, not about sorrow. Nothing like what you think. Want me to tell you? Her big fat ass is telling you to fuck off. That's what. Same goes for musicians. Take Charlie Parker." Madeleine: Do you think one can live alone? Always alone. Paul: No, I don't think one can, it's impossible. Without tenderness you'd shoot yourself. "We can suppose that, 20 years from now, every citizen will wear a small electrical device that can arouse the body to pleasure and sexual satisfaction."
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 18, 2013
    Masculin Feminin isn't nearly as simple or straightforward as one would expect, but despite the occasional unnecessary scene, it's a fun, satirical, and insightful look at the "children of Marx and Coca-Cola", or teenagers in the sixties. The dialogue between Paul (French New Wave regular Jean-Pierre Leaud) and Madeleine (Chantal Goya) is especially great, and their first real conversation together is one of my new favorite scenes from a Godard film. Of course, Godard inserts some political commentary here and there along with some scenes that don't seem to to fit in with the rest of the movie, but even that doesn't become a problem because it's just so entertaining. The film has a fairly pessimistic attitude towards teenagers and pokes fun at them constantly, but yet it's still charming somehow. The only real downside to the film is the unexpected ending, which just seems sudden and tacked-on. Otherwise Masculin Feminin is one of Godard's better movies and an interesting look at youth culture in '60s France.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2013
    One of the definitive films mirroring the life of youth in 60's France.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer

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