Search - Murmur of the Heart - Criterion Collection on DVD

Murmur of the Heart - Criterion Collection
Murmur of the Heart - Criterion Collection
Actors: Lea Massari, Benoît Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Michael Lonsdale, Ave Ninchi
Director: Louis Malle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2006     1hr 58min

This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laur...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lea Massari, Benoît Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Michael Lonsdale, Ave Ninchi
Director: Louis Malle
Creators: Ricardo Aronovich, Louis Malle, Suzanne Baron, Claude Nedjar, Vincent Malle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/28/2006
Original Release Date: 10/17/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 10/17/1971
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 58min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR
Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
Although I acknowledge this movie's power as a coming of age film, I found it unrelatable. Malle was deftly able to handle a disturbing subject matter in an almost tender manner.

Movie Reviews

One of Louis Malle's best
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 12/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Unbridled youth is very powerful in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek coming of age romp from the French master. The boys are your Menendez brothers en petit. They are arrogant, mean to the servants, sell the family jewels, paintings and carpets, drink to excess, attend whore houses with their stolen money and put up with lecherous priests in the day time. Mom has a lover and is bored with Dad, but she loves her little boy, 14-year-old Laurent, played with a "youth will be served" confidence by Benoit Ferreux, whose "coming of age" is perhaps a Louis Malle fantasy from his own youth.

There is the usual deft and warm Malle touch as he explores some verboten sexual ground and manages to have it all come out as charmingly sweet as a French musical farce. En route he parodies the post-war decadence of the French during the fifties as he satirizes Albert Camus, the war in Vietnam (pre-US involvement) and the Catholic church. One scene moves to another as though there was a fire to get to. Malle gives us what is necessary and runs into the next scene relying heavily on the camera to carry the story with minimal dialogue.This film should be seen and contrasted with Malle's homage to a pre-adolescent Brooke Shields in his American film, Pretty Baby (1978) where the camera tends to linger. Here he celebrates the randy adolescent charm of Ferreux perhaps to excess. But then, I'm sure to some, 12-year-old Brooke Shields must have been a yawn. The amazing thing about Malle is his ability to openly address taboo subject matter and do it in a way that disarms would-be critics. His secret I think is his deep affection for his characters and his emphasis on our ability to overcome and to heal. Malle, more than almost any film maker I can think of, keeps sex in perspective and does not over react to sexual differences.Incidentally I was intrigued to discover that Malle's first film was the ground-breaking under water documentary The Silent World (1956) made in collaboration with the legendary Jacque-Yves Cousteau."
A taboo subject handled superbly by Malle
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 12/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

Louis Malle's sensitive and delicate look at sexual initiation. Set in 1954, Benoit Ferreux plays a 14-year-old boy from Dijon; his father is a cold, uncaring gynecologist; his mother (played brilliantly by Lea Massari) is a free spirit. He contracts scarlet fever, which cause a heart murmur, and goes with his mother for a cure to a hotel/spa. He meets some girls there, and Massari openly sees a lover; she doesn't hide anything about this from him - in fact, she openly solicits his sympathies when she leaves her lover rather than go off with him. Massari's and Ferreux's closeness is gradually developed until they go to bed together. This act of incest is a special moment for both, and Malle must be praised for not exploiting it or making it sordid. Massari, as I said, is excellent, and it's not an easy role to play. The movie is both a commentary on the vapidness of the French bourgeoisie and an affirmation of life on a personal level. There is also a great Charlie Parker musical score. A wonderful movie all around."
The spectacle of childhood
Stalwart Kreinblaster | Xanadu | 04/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Louis Malles' film 'murmur of the heart' dances accross the screen with so much vigor and and jazz that you don't know quite what hit you in the is fabulous light-hearted and it dosen't care what people think.. that is why i like it. It is gorgeously filmed and the acting is quite good - but it is not a typical portrait of childhood - it contains both the things you would expect to see and also the unexpected - a great French film."