La Vie en Rose

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Postby flipp525 » Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:36 pm

--Hustler wrote:Agree that Cotillard is a sure contender for next Oscars. Her performance dignifies the film.

A perfect description of the film and Cotillard's performance, a surefire contender in this year's already-stacked Best Actress race.

She was as believable as a 22 year old as she was a 40 year old. I don't think I've seen an actress throw herself so wholeheartedly into a role since, well, I don't know when. Maybe Liza Minelli in Cabaret.

And if the performance was over-the-top at times, it was because Piaf herself was an über-dramatic, over-the-top diva in need of constant attention and starved for praise and affection.

I absolutely loved the placement of "Non, jene regrette rien" at the end of the film. Wonderful.

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Postby Hustler » Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:11 pm

Agree that Cotillard is a sure contender for next Oscars. Her performance dignifies the film.

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Postby Penelope » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:18 pm

I have to side with Anon on this. The film itself is jumbled mess, the narrative too scattered, with too many unidentified supporting characters running through it. There are brief moments of brilliance, however: Edith's reaction to Michel's death is marvelously cinematic, and the climax of the film--utilizing a certain song--is actually quite breathtaking.

Unlike BJ, I should think Cotillard's performance is right up Oscar's alley, precisely for the reasons he states: this is a showy, cranked to 11 performance--I enjoyed it (Cotillard is such a warm presence, I can't help but root for her to succeed), but she goes right into the stratosphere with this one. It's hypnotic, really, in the way that only certain over-the-top performances can be.
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Postby Anon » Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:17 am

Actually, I thought Marion Cotillard was the film's only saving grace. If it were not for her, this would've been another Ray biopic (I was not all that impressed with Jamie Foxx). But the storyline was one hot mess! I wish we had gotten more of Edith's life as a young woman on the streets, I wish they had explored more of her relationships - I wasn't feeling her pain when she lost her lover Marcus. Perhaps this is because I know for a fact that he was one of numerous lovers - male and female - so if she's going to grieve over this one guy, I'd like to know more about why he was that important to her compared to others. I kept getting confused about who's who among her entourage, let alone telling apart the different men who played her husband (she had more than one, didn't she?). Just everything was done so quickly, so perfunctorily, when what this movie needed was one simple motif to take us through her journey.

Mediocre film biopic, which is unfortunate considering the life they were exploring, but I honestly think Cotillard made the whole thing watchable, and for that, I will not be disappointed if she's honored come Oscar time.

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Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:27 pm

I guess I'm the first to weigh in on the biopic of Edith Piaf, which seems to be feverishly building buzz as of late, and it is with regret that I chime in on the thumbs-down side. This is a conventional biopic -- practically Ray with subtitles -- and features all of the bio conventions I've become so very tired of in recent years. Traumatic childhood? Check. Struggle with drug addiction? Check. Lazy montage charting the transition from humble beginnings to enormous success? Check. I couldn't help but feeling I'd seen this all before. There's nothing new except the milieu.

Well, there's another aspect that's different: the fractured narrative, which hops from Piaf's childhood to her deathbed and everywhere in between at random. I found this device to be colossally miscalculated. Many biopics seem to exist as collections of random moments rather than story arcs, but this film exacerbates that common problem to whole new levels. Forget any semblance of cause-and-effect -- the film seems content to bounce around in time and hope that its focus at the moment is compelling. I completely lost the through-line. Furthermore, this device absolutely squashes the emotional power of many scenes, particularly those near the end of the film. Shouldn't Piaf's final days be the emotional catharsis of the film, the capper to all the struggles that have come before? Instead, the film keeps bouncing back to plot points from her childhood and teenage years (even introducing new story elements), and I found it all to be a mess. The film is a jumble, a collection of half-interesting scenes missing the connective tissue that would make the material the powerhouse it should be.

It can be a challenge to predict the tastes of those on this board, but I have a feeling Marion Cotillard's performance (particularly if it becomes a major player in this year's awards derby) will not be well-liked. I've found Cotillard an interesting screen presence since I saw her in A Very Long Engagement, and she has some fine scenes when she's playing the younger Piaf. But once her physical transformation begins, as she's hunched over under layers of makeup, the intense effort it takes her to A-C-T is wholly unbelievable. She plays every scene to 11, and it's no surprise at all that she's received so much acclaim for her performance: how could you not notice her screaming and twitching up a storm in every scene? Her transformation is indeed uncanny, but isn't that a triumph of makeup rather than acting?

This is not to say that there aren't some fine touches in the film. The music is, of course, wonderful. In particular, there are some nice aural flourishes as the soundtrack uses both music and silence to interesting dramatic effect. On the whole, however, I feel like I've walked this line many times before.

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