Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nearest To Heaven|
Actors: Catherine Deneuve, William Hurt, Bernard Le Coq, Hélène Fillières, Gilbert Melki
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Starring Catherine Deneuve, William Hurt. From tribute.com - "Fanette (Deneuve) is writing a book on the abstract painter Francois Arnal. One day, when she learns that the man she considered her one great love, Phillippe,... more »
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First Loves, Memory, and Fantasy versus Reality
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"NEAREST TO HEAVEN ('Au plus près du paradis') is in many ways a simple old-fashioned melodrama - but with a delectable twist. Writers Anne-Louise Trividic and Tonie Marshall (who also directs) have created a tale of lost first love that follows a woman through her life, and ultimately becomes an obsession.
Fanette (Catherine Deneuve, as luminously beautiful and sensuous as she approaches 60 as ever) is an art historian working on a book project for which she must fly to New York to obtain photographs of the subject artist's work. Fanette is successful but has a distance in her emotional makeup that surfaces when she hears from an old friend Bernard (Bernard Le Coq) that her first love Philippe is in town (Paris) for a class reunion. Fanette begins to imagine she sees Philippe in cafes, and in movie houses (especially in a theater where she repeatedly views her favorite film "An Affair to Remember"). Ready to leave for New York she finds a note from Philippe who asks her to meet him at an appointed hour at the Empire State Building (!).
In New York she meets Matt (William Hurt), the photographer assigned to Fanette's task. Matt is wise, attracted to Fanette, and though Fanette is attracted to Matt, she still obsesses about her upcoming reunion with Philippe. Of course, as in the movie, Fanette waits atop the Empire State Building until the appointed hour on the night she is to meet Philippe, and when he of course doesn't appear...well, see the film to appreciate the ending.
On the surface this film is a bit corny and contrived, but in the hands of actors like Deneuve and Hurt the psychological implications of the plot are more profound and even sincerely touching. The ultimate drive of the movie is an examination of the obsessive powers first love affairs have over us and how the passage of time alters memory into the fantasy that we can actually return to the early moments of bliss. An interesting twist is the fact that while the story is in Paris, the film is shot in French and when the story shifts to New York the film is in English. This may annoy some viewers, but it is a bit more in keeping with the touch of verismo that prevents this film from being JUST an old-fashioned melodrama. And if for no other reason to see it, the film further documents the timeless beauty and talent of Catherine Deneuve. Grady Harp, February 2005."
Do not listen to the other reviews...
readernyc | New York City, NY USA | 09/08/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have genuine espect for the collective amazon.com reviewers. But this time, I was misled and I write because I don't want you to be.
Catherine Deneuve is not 'approaching 60' in this movie; she is over 63. That's the least of what is wrong here as I would love, as one who is her age to see some realism about women in their sixties, born in the early 40's. 1943 to be precise.
This is one of the last three Deneuve movies, and I've seen them all, where she is what's wrong, rather than what is right with the film.
She is overweight yet always moves as if highly unconfortable about it. She had a horrid face lift, can't imagine why, and her lips curl into a snarl that is when you are allowed to see her face, a face I have always loved. In "Nearest to Heaven" she is most often filmed from behind or in a blurry light and I, her age, felt her immense discomfort throughout.
Even worse is the total absence of chemistry with William Hurt, none. And that's the core of the story, CHEMISTRY. Even worse than all the above is the way this story does not move, does not make any sense, and is the type of film suited to a 23 year old love lorn and miserable girl rather than a woman in her sixties without any, not one whit, of maturity. Deneuve plays a girl whose unattractive and boy crazy.
I have adored Catherine Deneuve's films from "Belle de Jour" all the way through "Indochine" and the wonderful if sad "Dancer in the Dark." I don't have any idea why she chose radical face lifts that completely ruins her looks, and even more: her expessions. But for sure, this make over has ruined her ability and agility with acting. Tragique mais vrai.
What I totally do not get are the below reviews. They misled me into buying this most uncomfortable film. Please believe me I never come here to diss a book or a film but this is astonishingly mis-leading, these 4.5 reviews. Do not even look at this movie once, and if you do, please write your review."
Romantic movie for the people over 35
Wendy Schroeder | Englewood, Co United States | 07/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad to see that they do make romantic films with middle age couples in it. And she is about 7 years older! What is interesting because it's half in French and the other half English speaking.I used to have a crush on William Hurt in the '80s. He has that languid yet intelligent sexuality about him (like Nicolas Cage). Yes, I know that sounds weird...what can I say?I recommend this movie for anyone over 40. Or at least in their late 30s."
Quel dommage...One of Deneuve's worst!
N. J. Smith | San Diego, Ca | 03/11/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I must say that I agree with everything readernyc said about this film (facelift comments aside)! As a truly devout Deneuve fan, I was thoroughly disappointed with the slow, meaningless "plot" and (lack of)chemistry between the actors (and why William Hurt??!!). Yes, Ms. Deneuve is still beautiful, as always, but there are plenty of Deneuve films much more worthy of your dollar!"