Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|My Sex Life Or How I Got Into An Argument|
Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos, Emmanuel Salinger, Marianne Denicourt, Thibault de Montalembert
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Paul Dedalus is standing at the crossroads of his life. He must choose his direction in life, in his career, and in his love life as he sits in fear of the despairing life that his father is unable to escape from. Featurin... more »
Video Transfer is still poor for DVD
Dara Parsavand | L.A., CA United States | 12/14/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I like this movie and had seen it on VHS before ordering it on DVD. I thought it would be a good movie to learn some French by turning off the subtitles since it has a lot of dialog and is long. I was wrong.Problem 1: You can't turn the subtitles off.This is ridiculous for as recent a movie as this. They obviously could have found a print without the subtitles and then offered subtle options on the DVD menu.Problem 2: The subtitles are in white.Again ridiculous - yellow or white with a thin black border obviously work better when against a white tablecloth or sheet (which happens several times).Problem 3: The video quality is terrible. I've watched 50 or so DVD's by now and this one is not up to par - it almost looks like it is raining in some of the darker scenes outside. They even left the annoying marks on the upper right for a film reel change in. I can't wait till all films are just shot digitally in the first place, so we never have to get stuck with these bad transfers again.My advice is to rent it, or if you have a player for the European region, perhaps their version is better."
A Movie for Young Intellectuals
Karyn | Hercules, CA United States | 04/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking for steamy sex scenes, forget it; while this movie does deal with sex, it does so through discussion and debate, two highly-regarded French art forms! (Perhaps a lot of the disappointment surrounding this film is due to the fact that the title was inversed when it was released in the U.S.: The French title is "How I Got Into an Argument (My Sex Life).") But don't write the film off yet; it is an excellent thinking-person's romantic comedy.Mathieu Amalric is superb as Paul Dedalus, the central character of the film. (Amalric is excellent in any movie, actually.) Paul is a graduate student instructor who is brilliant, but lazy, and undecided in all the major areas of his life. He is too afraid to dedicate himself to a career as a professor, so he has been delaying writing his doctoral thesis for years. Though he has been with Esther for ten years, that does not indicate any form of commitment on his end, as he will not let the relationship mature or change in any form; he cannot break up with her, and he cannot remain faithful to her. Paul idolizes his only friend, Nathan, a professor of the same age who is not as brilliant as Paul, but has had the admirable drive to at least complete his thesis and secure a teaching post at the university. At the same time, Paul despises his ex-best friend Frederic, who is nearly as bright as Paul, but has an obsessive ambition and forceful ego that have propelled him to department chair over Paul. Paul has affairs with Nathan's girlfriend Sylvia, and her sister-in-law Valerie (both of whom have emotional/mental problems of their own), justifying that each one is better than Esther because they either have a job, a place of their own, and/or educational goals (none of which Paul really has for himself). Paul fancies himself Esther's rock, and eventually dumps her because "no one can carry the weight of someone else's responsibilities." The story, which switches between the present time, a few months earlier, and a year earlier, shows how Karma whips Paul around a bit, and forces him to come to terms with his insecurities, his future, and most importantly, his love for Esther.Paul may be the main character, but Esther (a wonderful performance from the little-seen Emmanuelle Devos) is the true hero of the film. Desplechin's direction is so subtle, yet precise, that at the beginning of the film, we aren't even aware that we are seeing Esther through Paul's eyes: At first, Esther is needy, whiney, suffocating and ugly (a reflection on his esteem for her). But in the middle of the film, after the break up, we see Esther bloom. She all of a sudden becomes stunning, but not through any superficial changes. We see Esther as she truly is: Beautiful, intelligent, and completely self-sufficient, with an amazing and quiet courage. Paul may not be able to carry her responsibility, but all along, it was actually she who carried his. Her greatest fault, as well as her best quality and strength, is her love for Paul, which he is too blind to see at first, then later realizes. (Another credit to Desplechin's direction: Even when Esther is most angry at Paul, you unconsciously see him through her eyes, and see just how charming and intelligent she thinks him to be.) If you're a girl whose heart has been broken, you will relate to Esther's silent moments, her wailing moments, and her struggle to move on with her life.Don't expect things to tie up neatly; real life never resolves itself in simple, concrete ways, and neither do French films. Along with Esther and Paul's doings, we also peek into the lives of Paul's friends and family members, who are all in their mid-twenties and early thirties, and are similarly at crossroads-with-no-signs points in their lives. This large cast of characters plays out the problem of intellectual youth: As bright as they are about academic matters, they are ignorant when it comes to human relationships, including the way they view themselves. Probably also attributed to the otherwise admirable French qualities of discussion and debate, they rationalize or theorize too much on their problems and situations in order to avoid making decisions or taking responsibility for their actions. Do not be put off by the serious and cerebral topics of this film: It is extremely funny, but in an intelligent sort of way. Very little of the humor is physical or circumstantial (although it does have its moments where you will burst out laughing, such as the scene where the monkey gets stuck behind the heater, which a previous reviewer mentioned). "My Sex Life" also offers an alternative view to Paris; it is the setting for all of Paul's romantic moments, but the city has never looked so grey, which reflects the loneliness of the students' lives as they struggle to find love, while blind to the love that is already there. No glamourous scenes, no sunny makes-you-happy-to-be-alive moments; this movie is as gritty as real life, and just as interesting.Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos were both nominated for Most Promising Actor and Actress Cesar awards (the French version of the Oscar)for this film. (Amalric took home the award.)"
Marguerite Zelle | New York | 03/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"the first hour of this movie satisfactorily grabbbed my attention, and based on the comments of other amazon customers, i expected it to improve considerably. it didn't. i knew a great deal of the movie would be conversations. unfortunately, most of them were rather banal. for substance, there was one glib quote by kierkegaard and one by kundera. some of the main character's reflections on the nature of relationship were somewhat insightful. however, most of the other talk centered, unfortunately, on the other characters' sexual ups and downs, which is not necessarily awful, if you like that sort of thing. aside from that, the acting was good, the actresses rather enchanting. although i did find the contrast peculiar, in the scenes in which they were totally nude and the males fully dressed, which was the standard within the film."
David Chatenay | 11/30/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a lovely film, at least it was when I saw its premier screening at the MFA in Boston. I loved the characters & dialogue, had been eagerly awaiting its appearance as/on a dvd, but, while it's here, the transfer/compression of it blows. The image quality's so poor & the colors incredibly bleached out. I wan my money back & or a better transfer (preferably). To whom do I bring my complaint to? Do the europeans lack for technology? A poor transfer was also done to another great (foreign) film, a Spanish one, titled "Vacas", which is a great film, though, not on dvd."