Murmur of the Heart - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Murmur of the Heart Reviews

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½ January 1, 2016
A French sexual awakening, coming-of-age film releasing back in 1971.
I like it even way much more than almost every film from the same genre making nowadays.
December 23, 2015
Malle, again, proves to be a master behind the camera, bringing humanity and sympathy to otherwise immoral themes with a maturity rarely seen in cinema nowadays.
½ November 14, 2014
'Murmur of the Heart' is an experience that sneaks up on you like the combined years of one's youth... Sophisticated naughtiness--After 43 years, "Murmur of the Heart" still rings truer and closer to home than most contemporary comedies (and even dramas) revolving around the "coming of age" and "sexual awakening" in a young teen... Breaking Taboos-Magnificently Provocative!!
April 25, 2014
This is how the French deal with this subject matter.
½ March 13, 2014
Outstanding acting by Benoit Ferreux. He carries the movie without any problem.
March 12, 2014
While the Indochina War rages on, a young french boy embarks on a sexual journey that includes an oedipal encounter with his flirtatious & over-comforting mother.
February 27, 2014
At first, it seemed like a case study in bad parenting. The eldest son takes money from his mother's purse; she demands it back, but everyone knows she doesn't mean it. The mother chases the boy around her bedroom to get the bill, but he refuses to give it; finally, the "hero", the youngest son, get the bill from his brother and hands it to his mother. She eventually gives the eldest son the money to settle his debts at his local bar. (All the boys are in high school, and the youngest is only fourteen and in short pants.)

The first hour establishes this toxic family. But in the second half, the hero is diagnosed with a heart murmur and for a moment it seems like the family will form again around him. He goes with his mother to a spa, where he witnesses his mother's affair. They speak like adults, and again it seems like the family will heal. Then after a Bastille Day celebration, the mother is passed out drunk and the hero has sex with her, losing his virginity. When she wakes and realizes what happened, she tells him very gently that it can never happen again. He immediately becomes a horn dog and sleeps with a girl his own age. He is caught by his father, who only laughs.

Altogether, a completely toxic family. The film was clearly intended to by shocking, and a reversal the Oedipus drama, a sort of 1970's statement in favor of free love. It seems immensely calculated, more Hollywood than Hollywood.

I can't decide if it's one star for its cynicism, or four stars for its skill.
August 5, 2013
Like his masterpiece Au Revoir Les Enfants 16 years later, Louis Malle crafts his childhood memories into an adorable memoir as a gift to audience. Commonly viewed as precocity in terms of the sexuality and taboo subjects it addresses, I personally think it is more like a revelation of adolescent innocence and tenderness. As time goes by, the avant-garde sexuality is nothing in modern world, but the image of the daring Laurent, who goes where his minds flows without getting involved in secularism too much, is hardly seen now. As for the controversial subject, its beauty lies on its spontaneity, unlike the Bernardo Bertolucci type of pretentiousness and superfluity which arouse criticisms easily. It is more than a great coming-of-age film, but a truthful and timeless art production of the precious childhood memories.
½ June 13, 2013
Hyvin on tämä filmi kestänyt aikaa: hyvä rytmi, kuljetus ja jopa ranskalainen kohelluskin aisoissa
Super Reviewer
½ December 18, 2012
My screenwriting teacher played this for us in class. I'm glad he did, cause it's a great coming of age story. See this one.
Super Reviewer
½ December 13, 2012
This is damn well-written. The characters are very rich. Louis Malle's direction is pretty much flawless. One of the best coming-of-age movies.
½ June 10, 2012
While one could see this film as a "coming of age" tale, it's more accurately the loss of innocence and childhood, mixed together with heavy oedipal problems. Of course, it -is- French . . . :P
March 19, 2012
It's honest, annoying and smart. I hate the son-mother relationship because it's too cliche, but it ended with big laugh, which is great.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2012
Malle's jazzy dram-com is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's semi-incestuous undertone and the portrayal of adolescent sexual awakening may make this a hard film for some to watch, but to me it's just a joy to watch. It's one of the prime examples of why I think Louie Malle is one of the finest French filmmakers in the history of cinema. Up with Truffaut, Godard, Melville. I even might say he surpasses greats like Renoir, Bresson, and Cocteau. That is indeed a big deal considering the public opinion of those very fine directors.
½ January 14, 2012
Arguably his most accomplished French film next to "Zazie dans le mà (C)tro," but it feels terribly manipulative in retrospect.
December 11, 2011
Louis Malle has stated that Murmur of the Heart was his first film, because this was the first film where he actually wrote the screenplay himself, and I must say he did a great job. Murmur of the Heart is a coming of age story set in the 1950s in Paris where we follow the 14-years-old bourgeois boy named Laurent Chevalier whom is just discovering all the excitement in drinking, smoking and sex, along with his two older brothers. But he also gets the heart murmur after a scarlet fever. He and his mother then goes to a Sanatorium where he also starts to look at his mother diffidently more in a sexual way. Murmur of the Heart is a special and most of all shocking, or maybe it's not, maybe it's just natural since it happend, and because of a boy strong love for his mother which maybe in this case is stronger then most of us. It's a complex film with a real structured plot and acting performances. Thumbs up.
August 15, 2011
An extraordinarily poignant French masterpiece from one of the most underrated directors of all time. Funny, sad, mad, vulgar, mesmerizing, beautiful.
½ July 14, 2011
My brothers are 12 and 13 years older, respectively. So I never had the pleasure of comparing my penis with them. At least they could have taken me out to a brothel for god's sake! Damn them, I missed out on so much.
½ June 7, 2011
We have it on no less an authority than Leo Tolstoy that all happy families are the same, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. I am not quite sure, however, that Count Tolstoy had in mind a family like the one we meet in "Murmur of the Heart," Louis Malle's warm, human, very funny movie about incest. You will agree that this family, at least, is happy in its own way. There's a lot of character depth in Murmur that a plot description doesn't really do justice to, and Laurent has all the trappings of smoldering performance in Ferreux's first screen role. (Too bad then that he never really did much career wise, languishing in small roles ever since.) Malle takes this simple story and pumps it full of depth -- the twin horrors and joys of being a kid, the hypocrisy of the rich, the politics of marriage, all filtered through the eye of French disillusionment in the 1970s. Even the title is full of meanings. It doesn't just refer to Laurent's malady, but also to his emotional development, as his heart is murmuring its way into a discovery of what love is.

VERDICT: "Full Price" - My second highest rating (Positive to Mixed reaction). This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent.
March 7, 2011
Four stars more in comparison to other Louis Malle films than in comparison to other movies in general. This is one of those "only in France" films that may be disturbing to an American audience. But is is also a well-told, well-acted (Lea Massari is wonderful), gorgeously shot movie.
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