La Vie En Rose (12A)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Mon Jun 18 2007

It's almost as if we don’t need a biopic of Edith Piaf; her life was a movie already. Born into poverty, she was discovered on the streets of ’30s Paris, singing for her supper, precipitating a remarkable rise to fame and fortune. All that was missing in her life was love, yet her romance with French boxing champion Marcel Cerdan was to be tragically short-lived. It was the making and the undoing of her: the pain somehow lent her singing an even greater emotional intensity, at the price of a punishing intake of drink and pills. She died in 1963 a mere husk of a woman, old beyond her 47 years.

String that lot together and you’ve got a showbiz story to rank with ‘A Star Is Born’ for sheer all-out melodrama. With puzzling perversity, however, that’s exactly what writer-director Dahan doesn’t do. Instead, he works his way through Piaf’s life like a pinball whizzing from bell to bumper. We get lots of fancy cuts and time transitions, but the through-line of the character at the centre of it all is only just visible. It’s a film which leaves you wanting more – a nice, straightforward TV documentary, perhaps – so that you can put the pieces of Piaf’s wildly excessive experiences back where they should be and discern just what made this woman tick.Maybe Dahan didn’t want to do the standard showbiz saga – another ‘Ray’ or ‘Walk the Line’, for instance. But is there really so much shame in a biopic which, you know, actually tells you about its subject? Of course, it is still possible to take a slightly off-track approach within the constraints of the sub-genre – the way Tim Burton’s perception of Ed Wood as an authentic artist, in his own mind at least, gives that celluloid life a singularly heroic comedy – though more often than not, studious artiness proves decidedly counter-productive. Admirers of Cole Porter probably still have nightmares about ‘De-Lovely’.

In ‘La Vie en Rose’, much creative energy seems to have been expended on figuring out how to tell the story in as flash a manner as possible, without quite marking out Piaf’s troubled essential self. Although leading lady Marion Cotillard’s rather taller than the super-mignonne four-foot-six Piaf, she deserves plaudits for her dedication to getting the physical mannerisms just so, although perhaps because the film never really gets under its subject’s skin that effort is also only too obvious. Yes, she sings ‘Je ne regrette rien’, and, yes, we cry. Yet the tears are for the song and the memory of a remarkable artist. They’re very little to do with this strenuously crafted yet ultimately bungled 140 minutes of celluloid.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jun 22, 2007

Duration:

140 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:14
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|36
1 person listening
Sarah

Amazing film. Beautifully shot, well paced and a mesmerizing performance from Cotillard. Her life is (of course, for a film!) slightly over-dramatized, but this really is a must see.

Sarah

Amazing film. Beautifully shot, well paced and a mesmerizing performance from Cotillard. Her life is (of course, for a film!) slightly over-dramatized, but this really is a must see.

Andrew Morrow

This film was definitely not bungled. I would rate it as one of the best French films I have seen in recent years. Liked it so much I had to buy the DVD from French Amazon!

Andrew Morrow

This film was definitely not bungled. I would rate it as one of the best French films I have seen in recent years. Liked it so much I had to buy the DVD from French Amazon!

filmbuff

The film was dramatic and beeautifully acted but agreed with timeout that the flashbacks and forwards were disjointed and confusing. i had to go home and fill in the gaps with wikipedia for it to make more sense

filmbuff

The film was dramatic and beeautifully acted but agreed with timeout that the flashbacks and forwards were disjointed and confusing. i had to go home and fill in the gaps with wikipedia for it to make more sense

bobby

Best film I have seen in 10 years. Picture, acting, movement, flow just brilliant. 10/10 this is a classic . This film makes you feel something its what cinema should be i loved it 100%. the timeout journo has no idea at all. Proves dont believe the hype, go and see it on the big screen and let the movie take you away!

bobby

Best film I have seen in 10 years. Picture, acting, movement, flow just brilliant. 10/10 this is a classic . This film makes you feel something its what cinema should be i loved it 100%. the timeout journo has no idea at all. Proves dont believe the hype, go and see it on the big screen and let the movie take you away!

Win Hornby

The Time Out review is 'off beam' I think. 'Ultimately bungled'? The reviewer must have been at a different version of the film to the one I saw!This was , for me at least, the best film I have seen this year and I have seen a few. Marion Cotillard is outstanding as Piaf and if she does not get an Oscar for this performance then there is no justice. The much criticised flashbacks were not that hard to follow and as I viewed it each provided a proegrssion of both the early years and the later ones. It should not be asking too much of an audience to stay with time sequence other than a purely 'linear one' and if the reaction in the auditorium I attended at the end of the film is anything to go by the audience 'got it' very well. Ignore Time Out and go and see it for yourself! You will not be disappointed!

Win Hornby

The Time Out review is 'off beam' I think. 'Ultimately bungled'? The reviewer must have been at a different version of the film to the one I saw!This was , for me at least, the best film I have seen this year and I have seen a few. Marion Cotillard is outstanding as Piaf and if she does not get an Oscar for this performance then there is no justice. The much criticised flashbacks were not that hard to follow and as I viewed it each provided a proegrssion of both the early years and the later ones. It should not be asking too much of an audience to stay with time sequence other than a purely 'linear one' and if the reaction in the auditorium I attended at the end of the film is anything to go by the audience 'got it' very well. Ignore Time Out and go and see it for yourself! You will not be disappointed!

J Thornley

The Time Out rating and comment sis complete rubbish! This was by far the best film I've seen in a long time, if not ever. In fact, I enjoyed it so much the first time, I went to see it twice and enjoyd it just as much. I am a big Piaf fan and I believe this film does justice to a remarkable woman. Cotillard is outstanding and the directing is perfect. If you haven't seen this film, it's an absolute must! It's the only time I've ever been to the cinema and felt like clapping at the end (and somebody actually did)! Amazing.

J Thornley

The Time Out rating and comment sis complete rubbish! This was by far the best film I've seen in a long time, if not ever. In fact, I enjoyed it so much the first time, I went to see it twice and enjoyd it just as much. I am a big Piaf fan and I believe this film does justice to a remarkable woman. Cotillard is outstanding and the directing is perfect. If you haven't seen this film, it's an absolute must! It's the only time I've ever been to the cinema and felt like clapping at the end (and somebody actually did)! Amazing.

J Cook

Heard a lot of 'mixed' reviews from professional critics, but the reviews from members of the public here a lot more accurate: an exquisite film. Absolute silence in the auditorium at the end: noone could move after 'la fin'. Performances note-perfect, Cotillard extraordinary, and the non-linear narrative gives an incredibly vivid sense of Piaf's life. It MUST be seen.

J Cook

Heard a lot of 'mixed' reviews from professional critics, but the reviews from members of the public here a lot more accurate: an exquisite film. Absolute silence in the auditorium at the end: noone could move after 'la fin'. Performances note-perfect, Cotillard extraordinary, and the non-linear narrative gives an incredibly vivid sense of Piaf's life. It MUST be seen.

Cramps

The resounding thumbs up are a reassurance and on the money - I can't get over how phenomenal Cotillard was; in contrast I found her characterisation strong and pervasive throughout. Best film I've seen in ages, had me gripped until the final, knock out end, sort it out johnston.

Cramps

The resounding thumbs up are a reassurance and on the money - I can't get over how phenomenal Cotillard was; in contrast I found her characterisation strong and pervasive throughout. Best film I've seen in ages, had me gripped until the final, knock out end, sort it out johnston.

E. Anderson

I agree with the reviewer - too much jumping around. It's a good idea but it's not done very well. We never found out just who many of the characters around her were (were they her friends or were they just tagging along because of her success?) We never saw her evolve from child to teenager to cabaret singer to star and from then to her decline and death, and, as the reviewer says, we didn't find out really what made her tick. The film is too long and repetitive, though the beginning and end are good and of course the music is wonderful.

E. Anderson

I agree with the reviewer - too much jumping around. It's a good idea but it's not done very well. We never found out just who many of the characters around her were (were they her friends or were they just tagging along because of her success?) We never saw her evolve from child to teenager to cabaret singer to star and from then to her decline and death, and, as the reviewer says, we didn't find out really what made her tick. The film is too long and repetitive, though the beginning and end are good and of course the music is wonderful.

IAN SMITH

What planet is this reviewer living on? Get back down to Cannes and smooze it up with the filmies who don't know a good film when it bites them on the derriere. If I had gone by the Time Out rating I would have missed a very enjoyable time. Art or phart, give this critic guy a holiday in Normandie away from his precious opinions.Un onion est un onion. Ca Va?

IAN SMITH

What planet is this reviewer living on? Get back down to Cannes and smooze it up with the filmies who don't know a good film when it bites them on the derriere. If I had gone by the Time Out rating I would have missed a very enjoyable time. Art or phart, give this critic guy a holiday in Normandie away from his precious opinions.Un onion est un onion. Ca Va?

tom

The people watching the this film at the theater applauded when it finished. I was that good. It did skip around her life and you had to pay attention. The acting was first rate and the songs were fantastic. This is the best film of 2007.

tom

The people watching the this film at the theater applauded when it finished. I was that good. It did skip around her life and you had to pay attention. The acting was first rate and the songs were fantastic. This is the best film of 2007.

Jake

I couldn't agree more with Barry's comments (above). The Time Out rating of 2 is very conservative. The rating below is more reflective of the film. Story: 5 stars Acting: 5 stars Direction: 5 stars Visuals: 3 stars Overall: 4.5 stars (well 5 stars almost) The film ended with everyone in the cinema still in their seats (begging for more of Edith Piaf). Good film. Money well spent!

Jake

I couldn't agree more with Barry's comments (above). The Time Out rating of 2 is very conservative. The rating below is more reflective of the film. Story: 5 stars Acting: 5 stars Direction: 5 stars Visuals: 3 stars Overall: 4.5 stars (well 5 stars almost) The film ended with everyone in the cinema still in their seats (begging for more of Edith Piaf). Good film. Money well spent!

John

For someone who knew next to nothing about Piaf, and only a couple of her songs, this film was wonderful. The flashbacks were well made and timed, and followed the themes of her life, and her desire for love. It didn't varnish or celebrate her failings. Brilliant acting by the adult and child Piaf, several beautiful scenes. Wonderful. The best film of 2007.

John

For someone who knew next to nothing about Piaf, and only a couple of her songs, this film was wonderful. The flashbacks were well made and timed, and followed the themes of her life, and her desire for love. It didn't varnish or celebrate her failings. Brilliant acting by the adult and child Piaf, several beautiful scenes. Wonderful. The best film of 2007.

David Loveday

If you had viewed this film knowing little of the Piaf legend you might find the multiple flashbacks and the missing war years left you feeling the film was disjointed or incomplete. But flashback is just how we recall our loved ones, and Piaf fans will be entranced by the sense of time and place and the strong central performance.

David Loveday

If you had viewed this film knowing little of the Piaf legend you might find the multiple flashbacks and the missing war years left you feeling the film was disjointed or incomplete. But flashback is just how we recall our loved ones, and Piaf fans will be entranced by the sense of time and place and the strong central performance.

Dave L

Stunningly realised biopic of a troubled life. A bit overdone at times and rather overlong, but the film seeks to make a serious attempt at telling the tragedy. Far better than much of the bland rubbish currently on offer.

Dave L

Stunningly realised biopic of a troubled life. A bit overdone at times and rather overlong, but the film seeks to make a serious attempt at telling the tragedy. Far better than much of the bland rubbish currently on offer.