A Love Triangle.
email@example.com | England | 11/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very French and very charming love story, filmed as only the French seem to know how with remarkable subtlety and sensitivity. Benoit, played by Yvan Attal, a shy and introverted bank-clerk, advertises for a girl friend and has the remarkable good fortune to meet the modest and appealing Marie, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who is Yvan Attal's partner in real life. She doesn't feel any instant attraction but likes him because he is nice and kind - though, as it turns out, also dull and unimaginative. He takes her to meet his best friend Pierre, played by Charles Berling, (seen playing a similar obsessive lover in L'Ennui) and for over a year the three of them go about everywhere together. Then she marries Benoit with Pierre acting as his best-man.But throughout this time Pierre has been trying to stifle his love for Marie and failing miserably. Able to stand it no longer he declares his love and Marie is horrified. She does her best to discourage him but over many months he pursues her with a persistence that not many men would be capable of.And in the end, as we expect, his persistence pays off. What woman could withstand such ardent overtures from a charismatic man with a sense of humour? And he behaves in a lovable, unconventional way, - a bit in the style of Cary Grant - he lies spread-eagled in the middle of the road to stop an approaching car and he stands on his head when she takes his photograph at the sea-side, both actions a bit beyond the nice but plodding Benoit. When however, Benoit discovers their guilty secret he reacts violently, a scene that seems a little out of place in a film which up to that point has been pleasant and amusing.Betrayed by his best friend and the woman he loves, and consequently losing them both, is it possible for him ever to be happy again? Well the film does end happily - if a little unconvincingly - to the accompaniment of a very moving and very French ballad. Believe me it will bring tears to your eyes."
When betrayal feels right..
I. Meric | Istanbul, Turkey | 05/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are deceived at the very 1st step, how would you feel? If the picture that comes as a reply for your ad belongs not to the sender but to a close friend of his, does it mean that you are deceived? How would you react when "that" close friend of your husband says he is in love with you? Are in you love with your husband or the man in "that" picture? If you do feel deceived at the 1st step, would you admit it & enjoy adultery?Marie, Benoit & Pierre form this infernal triangle with touching humour. Freely based on Barnes' novel "Talking it Over", Vernoux depicts an unforgettable romantic comedy, sometimes reaching the shores of a heart-wrenching drama. The artistry of Vernoux, however, is the way of juxtaposing these three different persons (and their different paths in reaching love) where the major virtues (or flaws) of being human become the intersection points. Surprisingly enough, the viewer feels close to the all three characters, appreciates & understands their motives, though the happiness of one means misery to the other. It is very striking to see how one can hurt the very dear ones with the pursuit of love & the bliss it brings. Vernoux, just like Barnes, frames this complexity in the lives of these three comical characters and, without being formal, harsh & biased, underpins the emotional havoc love can escort.In fact, both the novel & the film mostly deal with the "etc." part, not the "love" part. After all, all emotions can blacken and/or become bitter with the "spicy" accumulation of these small "etc."s. This is actually what Marie, Benoit & Pierre experience. They hide, they deceive and they wish to find the love they deserve. Do they find it in the end? Well, they surely do, but it is shockingly (maybe preferably) different than the novel's original ending..When it's about love, everything "seems" insignificant. Maybe that's when betrayal feels right..Join in, and "Take This Waltz". It surely will linger in your mind for a long, long time.."
Burrobaggy | Newcastle, home of footie | 07/02/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A French adaptation of a Julian Barnes novel, this is a pretty basic and very tedious romantic triangle: when shy loser Yvan Attal hooks up with Charlotte Gainsbourg, his luck changes while his best friend Charles Berling's fortunes suffer reverses as he falls for her and bores passing strangers by telling them his hopes of how to win her. Unfortunately this seems to be by going for the Anakin Skywalker route of whining her into submission, as his tiresome self-pity gradually and inexplicably wins her over.
There are a few nice moments: a wedding photo in which all three reveal their innermost thoughts, one of Berling's captive confessors asking him "Don't you ever get tired of your bulls**t?" and Berling following his comparison of an affair being as unsatisfactory as a holiday in Marbella by his nervous rambling that "Actually, Marbella can be nice at this time of year. I went there once. It's best to go off season." Similarly, his dismissal of Leonard Cohen's genius by admitting he finds a lack of imagination in rhyming 'ay' with 'ay ay ay' neatly punctures Attal's tendency to play Cohen's waltz at every opportunity. Unfortunately they are few and far between, and Berling is astonishingly annoying here. You keep on waiting for someone to hit him, repeatedly (now there's an idea for a movie!), but it never happens. There is one great final confrontation when Attal confronts the two: his performance has real power here and the writing mirrors the ebb and flow and awkwardness of such moments. But it's not enough.