La Vie En Rose

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

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Time Out says

Thu Jun 14 2007

The greatest obstacle in mounting a successful biopic—a genre in dire need of a shot of adrenaline—is for the lead performer to overcome ventriloquism. Although Marion Cotillard, in a career-defining performance, lip-synchs all of Edith Piaf’s songs, the actor is no dummy. She doesn’t merely embody the French singing legend; she is possessed with all of the monstrous talent—and behavior—that burst out of the 4'8" chanteuse. After a series of recent, dreadfully misguided distaff docudramas, including last year’s Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus and Factory Girl, Olivier Dahan’s film is all the more impressive for its energy and completely earned grandiosity. Ultimately, even all the moments of squirmy excess—Piaf on her deathbed, a final-act revelation—can be forgiven.

Where Judy Garland (coincidentally, only three inches taller than the Little Sparrow; how did so much sound come out of these half-pints?) had Carnegie Hall, Piaf had the Olympia, the site of many a triumph after illness and addiction. Both Dahan and Cotillard are exquisitely attuned to the electrifying rush an impeccable performance can produce. Dahan makes us wait for the cathartic release until the very end; the effect is not manipulative but absolutely exhilarating. I know one Frenchwoman (with exceptionally high standards) who sobbed during the movie. Yet the appeal of La Vie en Rose transcends nationality or one’s predilection for the chanson tradition. In other words: It’s the singer, not the song.
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Release details

Cast and crew

Cast:

Marion Cotillard, Catherine Allegret, Marc Barbé, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Martins, Clotilde Courau, Jean-Paul Rouve, Emmanuelle Seigner, Pascal Greggory, Sylvie Testud

Editor:

Richard Marizy

Cinematography:

Tetsuo Nagata

Music:

Christopher Gunning

Producer:

Alain Goldman

Director:

Olivier Dahan

Production Designer:

Olivier Raoux

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