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Juan José Ballesta,
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French romantic drama that is much more sweet than saccharine
You can say a lot of bad things about French movies, but there are two areas where they are unquestionably way ahead of their Hollywood/American counterparts: one, is films dealing at all with sex (compare "Blue is the Warmest Color" to "50 Shades of Grey") and the other is films dealing with romantic relationships (compare "Blue is the Warmest Color" to pretty much ANY Hollywood "rom-com"). The advantage French films have is they don't try to SEPARATE the sex and the romance. Hollywood/America basically either makes "rom-coms" for women or porn films for men, and while one is obviously much more maligned than the other, they're equally contrived and unrealistic in my opinion: i.e. a plucky, beautiful, but somehow unlucky-in-love heroine is no more likely to be suddenly swept off her feet by an impossibly hot Prince Charming in a fairy tale romance than a well-hung stud "delivering a package" is likely to be immediately seduced by the sexy, incredibly horny woman answering the door. (And I think most porn enthusiasts at least KNOW their movies are totally unrealistic; I'm not so sure about many "rom-com" fans).
French movies like this are also pretty unrealistic in that I don't think there are this many incredibly beautiful, sexually available, but completely unlucky-in-love single people in ANY country. But there is a difference between French films that kind of glamorize and romanticize sexual relationships and Hollywood films that are just completely contrived from the "meet-cute" get-go to the "happily-ever-after" ending. I also personally find French actresses like Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier, Marie Gillain, Anais Demoustier, Lea Seydoux, and Adele Exarchapolous far more appealing than their Hollywood counterparts. Yes, it's largely because they actually take their clothes off and have sex scenes, but frankly even this wouldn't make the likes of Katherine Heigl any more tolerable. They also seem like REAL (albeit incredibly good-looking) people rather than allegedly comical, completely contrived characters who have unbelievably perfect lives, but are single just because they're so damn "quirky".
The girl in this movie, played by Astrid Berger-Frisby, is typically beautiful, but also seems like a real character. Her self-destructiveness, promiscuous behavior at the beginning, and trouble in relationships clearly stems from a difficult home-life involving her beloved father who is slowly dying. The protagonist is pursuing a "true-love" relation with a good-looking male suitor during the course of the movie, but it is realistically turbulent as opposed to stupidly contrived, and it ends up being being much more sweet than saccharine. A lot of it is that this movie is very well filmed with a lot beautiful, impressionistic scenes on a sun-diffused beach (French cinema has always gotten a lot of mileage out of beautiful women and beautiful beaches). Some of these are childhood flashbacks to happier times for the heroine, but others are these kind of idealized adult romantic scenes with her boyfriend that seem to exist outside of time altogether. That and the great music make this more effective than most French romantic comedy/dramas I've seen, let alone any Hollywood one.
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