The Man Who Loved Women (L'Homme qui Aimait les Femmes)


The Man Who Loved Women (L'Homme qui Aimait les Femmes)

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,977
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Movie Info

Scientist Bertrand Morane, "never in the company of men after 5," seduces women by evening and writes about the experiences in the early morning. Though 40ish and somewhat square, no woman in the town of Montpelier seems capable of resisting his earnest advances. Not much else happens in The Man Who Loved Women, but in the hands of master visual storyteller François Truffaut, the threadbare plot accumulates deep and ominous philosophical resonances. What drives Morane from woman to woman, and what accounts for his remarkable success? Does he secretly dislike women and consider them interchangeable (as one of the more prurient characters charges, to Morane's genuine befuddlement), or is his enthusiasm a kind of celebration? Truffaut refuses to answer plainly, but does drop clues; as his camera focuses on everyday objects, many take on a chilling, otherwordly luster, and coldly foreshadow Morane's fate. A deceptively simple film, The Man Who Loved Women is neither an indictment nor an apology for philandering; rather, it's a courageous, lovingly detailed portrait of a complex, intelligent man suffering from an altogether intractable complaint. This film was clumsily remade in English in 1983 by Blake Edwards, with Burt Reynolds assuming the role played here with such understated skill by the wonderful Charles Denner. --Miles Bethany

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Critic Reviews for The Man Who Loved Women (L'Homme qui Aimait les Femmes)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Loved Women (L'Homme qui Aimait les Femmes)

  • Aug 01, 2014
    Finally, Truffaut's third masterpiece is here, and this one seems to be carrying his unique voice, almost devoid of all influences, like he did with his debut. The opening segment presents an utopian setting, maybe an imagined funeral of the protagonist. It is obvious who died, as a parade of women arrive in their cars, some amused, some surprised, a couple of them mournful, throwing roses and dirt to the tomb of this... ummm... Womanizer? Don Juan? Addict? Let's find out in the following 118 minutes. What follows is a marvelous comedy full of romance, which is certainly not the same as a romantic comedy. A man seeks women, often resorting to shocking means just to make a female acquaintance. How is he? How does he think? Well, he is an admirer of the female aesthetics, their figure, their varied personalities, their high or low heels, of big breasts during the winter and small breasts during summer, and most importantly, skirts. Every time he scores, or every time he fails (less probable), he decides to put the anecdotes together in a way that resembles a diary since the beginning, which progresses to an autobiography later, which then becomes a finished novel that is seeking to be published. If you're reading this plot description and feel indignant or perceive it overused, don't give up! That's barely the surface. Morally, of course, the plot sounds repulsive, but under Truffaut's lens and his mastery at narrative, the film becomes, as said, a masterpiece. To begin with, it is not necessary that the film spells out that the protagonist is walking towards his own destruction. Somehow, the film takes the hardest route and transforms Bertrand into a likeable character, even funny. He is not necessarily the handsome type, but he is an expert at what he does. Also, no matter how eloquently he can put his experiences and admiration for women into words, it is clearly an obsession. He's addicted to women. This moral flank, however, is not the main purpose of the story to cover. Truffaut's followers should know he makes comedies, and this was no exception. Not even his Antoine Doinel series was finished. But it doesn't stop there. <i>L' Homme qui Aimait les Femmes</i> also reveals its true faces halfway through. Whereas the first half was a classy introduction to the character and an effectively funny representation of his adventures, the second half becomes a fully layered psychological and emotional analysis of the character, transforming his in-progress novel into an exercise of self-consciousness and self-judgment intertwined with philosophical resonances. In some segments, he seems to explicitly state his awareness of his obsession. "I want them all, even if I can't." From a comedy, we have then an engaging analytical drama with interesting sequences mirroring the process of literary criticism in a meta-art form, which adds brilliant layers of depth to the film. There's a true dissonance from the extreme character of Delphine in the first half, to the dialogue with Véra on the second half, the latter remaining as my favorite scene. Subject to a hideous U.S. remake by Blake Edwards (famous for the cinema adaptations of The Pink Panther series) starring Blake Reynolds, <i>L' Homme qui Aimait les Femmes</i> is a story that explores the obsessive compulsions of a calculating man suffering in the areas of his life because of his decisions, while the screenplay discusses several angles and definitions of big terms such as "love", "sex" and "romance", without necessarily putting all the blame to men! There are also a couple of crazy women out there! 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2012
    A scientist writes about book about his sexual exploits. As I watched this film, I wondered if it was supposed to be satirical comedy or if there was something I wasn't understanding, that it was saying something complex about sexual politics. Even as the film drew to its conclusion, I couldn't figure out if Francois Truffaut was taking me for a ride that ended nowhere or if I simply wasn't smart enough to be in on the joke. I feel the same way now. What is certain is that this is a lesser Truffaut film, not up to Antoine Doinel par, but nevertheless the images are sharp, the plot unfolds with ease, and the acting is quite good; Charles Denner is uninhibited and occasionally charming. I wish the film would have more fully explored his few attempts at love over lust, but considering I don't really know what Truffaut was shooting at, I don't even know if this a fair criticism. Overall, I suppose this should be on one's checklist of Truffaut films to see, but there are so many better ones.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2009
    "The Man Who Loved Women" is an engaging, easy-to-watch story, but if you're a film buff looking for bold hallmarks of the French New Wave, you won't find much. Really, the only deviant touch is one self-reflexive scene in which some book publishers discuss the autobiography which the protagonist has submitted. It's as if the film's script is already being critiqued within itself. Otherwise, the plot structure involves flashback and is somewhat episodic, but this is simply the best way to tell the tale rather than an aggressive "challenge" to the viewer. So, your best bet is to take off your scholar's robes and just *enjoy* this gentle, bittersweet fable of an unlikely, not-so-dashing womanizer who wins all hearts through sheer sincerity and persistence. One advisory: There is not nearly as much titillation as one might expect, given the subject matter.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 07, 2008
    Great characters and pretty funny. Well worth seeing.
    Stefan P Super Reviewer

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