A Director's Quiet but Passionate Scream
ruzzante | UK | 04/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perfect Love makes no attempt at keeping secrets. In just its opening minutes, the audience is given fragments of a murder investigation, the murderer re-enacting the crime, and a daughter's interview answers. These short introductory fragments give the audience the we-know-why-and-how-this-all-ends-so-badly information which, in turn, creates the framework for the story that follows i.e. "37 years old and twice divorced, Frédérique meets 28-year-old Christophe at a wedding. What starts as a happy relationship quickly turns tumultuous ..." (DVD cover notes). Sound simple and straightforward? Well, the viewing experience is not! If you can appreciate the subtlety in this movie of laughter as despair's final voice, then, you can appreciate the depth of analysis used to present the characters in this tale's distressing dénouement.
The director's analytical approach creates the questions and answers that maintain and intensify the suspense; also, the director has crafted enough complex overlap and parallelism between characters to ensure an attentive viewing of this slow-paced, uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and un-natural "love story". In true French fashion, there is plenty of material for philosophical debate after viewing this movie. For example, psychologically transferred matricide (two-fold!), homosexual relationships finding strength from female abuse, desire as life denial, child abuse and the negative effects on children when parent(s) are absent either physically or emotionally, etc. ... Enough! The movie Perfect Love may become a cult classic at a later date; for now, its intelligence and artistry merit recognition and respect despite the angst its insightful vision engenders."
Breillat's dénouement of a 'perfect love.'
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film gives new meaning to the phrase, "until death do us part." Controversial French filmmaker Caterine Breillat (Romance, Fat Girl - Criterion Collection) is known for her explicit depictions of sex and violence. Perfect Love is no exception. The film begins and ends with graphic violence, flashing back in between to chronicle the intense relationship between 37-year-old two-time divorcée Frédérique (Isabelle Renauld) and the younger, volatile 28-year-old Christophe (Francois Renaud). Breillat is more interested in the sexual politics of their relationship and the couple's immature attitudes toward sex than a happily-ever-after Hollywood ending. As the film's title suggests, what starts out as a "perfect love" between Frédérique and Christophe soon deteriorates into cruelty, violence, and murder while engaged in sex. Like all of her films (which I highly recommend), Breillat's depiction of "perfect love" is something that should leave viewers debating this film afterwards in cafes, bars, and their bedrooms.