Three friends face mid-life crises. Paul is a writer who's blocked. François has lost his ideals and practices medicine for the money; his wife grows distant, even hostile. The charming ...
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Three friends face mid-life crises. Paul is a writer who's blocked. François has lost his ideals and practices medicine for the money; his wife grows distant, even hostile. The charming Vincent, everyone's favorite, faces bankruptcy, his mistress leaves him, and his wife, from whom he's separated, wants a divorce. The strains on the men begin to show particularly in François and Paul's friendship and in Vincent's health. A younger man, Jack, becomes attractive to Lucie, François's wife. Another young friend, the boxer Jean, who's like a son to Vincent and whose girlfriend is pregnant, has taken a bout with a merciless slugger. Has happiness eluded this circle of friends? Written by
I came across this film at the New York Public Library and was intrigued enough by the cast to give it a try. I was not disappointed. 'Vincent, François, Paul... et les autres' could serve as a textbook example of great writing and great acting. The characters are so strongly developed, full of the genuine complexities and contradictions that mark us as human beings. It's refreshing to find a film that is able to achieve this kind of emotional depth. All of the actors do great work, but Montand pretty much steals the show as "Vincent." Full of bluster and sly humor, you see his sadness and vulnerability come out over the course of the film, as several crises come together and almost crush him. In one powerful sequence, we watch and suffer with him as he spends a long, terrible night trying to get help from various friends to keep his business afloat, only to realize how alone he is in the world. I've seen Montand in several films now, and this one may contain his best work of all, as he shows such tremendous range as an actor.
Piccoli also does well as "François," an intelligent and successful doctor who's grown cold over the years and whose frustration and anger build up inside him until he finally loses it at dinner one evening. Serge Reggiani, who I wasn't familiar with, does a great job as "Paul," a writer who can't finish his novel. One of the most intense, emotionally-charged moments in the film (and there are many) is a devastating exchange between Reggiani and Piccoli about "Paul's" unfinished book. Ouch - painful stuff. And a buff, baby-faced Depardieu shows early screen presence and talent as "Jean," an amateur boxer who has gotten his girlfriend pregnant and must decide whether or not to accept a match against a brutal professional fighter who seriously injured another amateur boxer. This sub-plot has an interesting twist and is handled well, as is the father-son type relationship between Montand and Depardieu.
My one complaint is that the women in the film, who all seem beautiful and intelligent and interesting, aren't nearly as well-developed as the male characters, but, then, it is called 'Vincent, François, Paul...' not 'Catherine, Lucie, Julia...' For those folks who don't have patience with "slow-moving films," this one probably isn't for you. The plot is interesting and there are moments of subtle humor that keep the film from becoming too heavy with drama, but it may not be for everyone. An excellent work.
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