Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 06/07/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Director Maurice Pialat's film is more an exercise in star power than any presentation of narrative, with Isabelle Huppert leaving her husband Guy Marchand for the leather-clad ex-con ruffian Loulou played by Depardieu. Even though the tone takes its cue from the character of Loulou as a womanising drifter, the low key seemingly improvised rambling scenes are preferable to the gab-fests of Eric Rohmer, who is responsible for the negative connotations associated with French films by Americans. This film is actually mistitled since although it is Depardieu that is the catalyst for Huppert to change her life, the story is more hers than his. Or perhaps it is that the representation of her crumbling marriage that is more dramatically interesting than Depardieu's "loafing". If Loulou's character is sketched thinly that may to keep him as an enigma, the mysterious bad-boy that women always seem to prefer. At one point Huppert says of Depardieu, "I prefer a loafer who f**ks, to a rich guy who bugs me". And although we can see how limiting Depardieu's world is to Huppert, we also understand her attraction to him, highlighted by a silent image of the couple stumbling down a street in a drunken embrace. Pialat's best moments involve scenes of violence outbursts - a family get together soured by jealousy, the loud music of a disco drowning out shouting, and a brawl between Depardieu and Marchand in a courtyard with a following drink together as evidence of the French form of civilised behaviour. Huppert also has an early scene with Marchand where the camera follows his pursuit and humiliation of her, and here Huppert's anger invalidates the myth of her as a passive performer. The film also shows us footage of her laughing, which is unusual since her situations are usually so glum, and she is funny when she yells in shocked reaction to being hit, in the famous love scene where the bed collapses, and when she falls in the street by accident. Pialat also gives Marchand a laugh by having him resort to playing the saxophone in depression."
Dohmen Sigrid | Robecco sul Naviglio (Milan) Italy | 05/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie goes back to the early Eighties and I still remember it, since I went to watch it three times within a few days. It was probably due to the scene where the bed crashes down. It is one of the films of the young Depardieu in couple with Isabelle Huppert and with an excellent Maurice Pialat directing it. In reality nothing really important happens, but the love scenes are nice. Depardieu plays a young guy who is rather happy without being fixed up in regular work and Isabelle Hupper leaves her husband to stay with him. She earns their living and also decides to abort, since Depardieu only wants to work after the birth of the child. This is also the sad fact about the movie that in reality does not have an end. There is also a nice scene with an open air dinner, much fun and lots to eat and to drink."
+1/2 ...outlining a rather sad but steamy affair
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 01/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1980 French film is a fairly dreary, depressing, anti-romantic character study, featuring Isabelle Huppert as a restless young woman who ditches her boring, tempramental boyfriend for a wild, leather-clad bad boy (played by an incandescent, youthful Gerard Depardieu). The films inches forth through one mildly unsettling scenario to another; the cumulative effect of which is something close to spiritual nausea. It's supposed to be that way, though: this film is very much a precursor to the downcast realism of the 1990s "dogme" scene, skillfully made, but definitely a downer. However, Depardieu is particularly magnetic in this early role... worth it to see him in his prime!"