The Singer (15)

Film

Romance

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Time Out rating:

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

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Oct 19 2006

Just when we’d almost given up – and so, seemingly, had he – on Gérard Depardieu turning in a performance as great as those he used to produce with extraordinary regularity, along comes Xavier Giannoli’s immensely assured first feature, in which the star, presumably prompted by the partly self-reflexive nature of the material, shines with real brilliance.

A beautifully judged drama, it chronicles the faltering encounter of Alain (Depardieu), a middle-aged crooner working the discos, casinos and rest-homes of Clermont-Ferrand, and Marion (Cécile de France), an attractive but wary divorcée employed in the offices of Alain’s estate-agent friend Bruno (Mathieu Amalric). Alain – himself divorced from a protective ex who’s now hitched but works as his manager – is not averse to seducing female fans, but in Marion’s case he appears seriously smitten. She, however, is impressed neither by his songs nor by a self-deprecating charm she regards as just another part of his act. With Depardieu’s meticulously nuanced characterisation lent excellent support from all concerned, this insightful, witty, poignant account of a tentative relationship circumscribed by all manner of memories, anxieties and prejudices benefits from Giannoli’s utterly plausible script, which subtly conveys what people are thinking even as they’re saying something else entirely. While quietly very affecting – not least because the movie, written specifically for its lead, is clearly partly inspired by and reflects on his own career, charisma and motivations as a performing artist – it’s never once as corny as the crowd-pleasers Alain sings. Rather, it’s an admirably tough, ambivalent and honest look at the fraught relationship between real feelings and the culturally acceptable (or otherwise) public expression of similar emotions as manipulative entertainment. Excellent.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Sep 28, 2007

Duration:

112 mins

Users say

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

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
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Mocquery

A truly wonderful film. I think one guy here commented that not much of interest happened during the course of the film! Perhaps in time and with experience he or she will learn to observe and appreciate the subtleties of human nature. Really moving film. Enjoy.

Mocquery

A truly wonderful film. I think one guy here commented that not much of interest happened during the course of the film! Perhaps in time and with experience he or she will learn to observe and appreciate the subtleties of human nature. Really moving film. Enjoy.

Harold

This film was a woeful dissapointment: really tedious, like a soap opera stretched on a rack. The characters, apart from Depardieu, were lazily drawn and the dynamic between the two principals was indistinct, rather than ambiguous. 'Ambivalence' should not be confused with weak writing. De France is beautiful, but her character was so badly penned: in the end her motivations were a mystery, but you didn't really care because her character was as multidimensional as a model in a shampoo advertisement. There was also a basic problem of credibility with an intern at a provincial real estate agent earning enough to live in a good hotel and have her child boarded full time with another couple. The film also creaked and groaned under too many weak and gratuitous plot stunts: the pet goat? the knock back from the sexy young singer at the end? walking through the fields where the aliens land? the vomiting blood? These were all stunts that substituted for better writing. While Depardieu was meant to be a bathetic character, the evocation of bathos was hamstrung by the movie's indulgent fondness for the French lounge scene: a total failure to establish any contrast there. Had the film not had Depardieu twinkling in the middle, it would vanish without a trace.

Emmanuelle

Being loved or being rejected: the two main characters experience it in their own way in this beautiful film not to be missed. Depardieu is fantastic to watch as an ageing balroom singer.

Simon Fullalove

French films are usually at or near the top of my all-time favourites. However, I have to say this is the most disappointing film (French or otherwise) I have ever seen. It's just plain boring - without giving the plot away nothing, and I mean nothing, of interest ever actually happens. Perhaps it was just Orange Wednesday.