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 Post subject: La Vie En Rose (2007)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:56 am 
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"La Vie En Rose" is a 2007 French film directed by Oliver Dahan and produced by Picturehouse (Focus Features). Starring Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf, this film is a story about the famed french singer's life from childhood to death.

This movie follows a distinct out of sequence style of production where various years of her life are inter-spliced together. It jumps back and forth rather drastically, sometimes following a linear progression, other times not. The film culminates in the final moments where the last song is played during Piaf's dying flashbacks of her life - "Je ne regrette rein."

The script was brilliant, each word and statement truly personifying the characters and inserting quite a bit of realism within it. The characters came off as true people - men and women who actually existed and had feelings and a history. Combined with powerful acting, the words leapt off the page and made this film seem like a true historical experience more than anything else.

However one cannot speak long about "La Vie En Rose" before one mentions the greatest acting the movie possessed: the brilliant Marion Cotillard. This unbelievably talented actress went through the entire adult life of Edith Piaf. She went through the twenties, thirties, and forties and through each of them - it was as if she became Edith Piaf. Hardly recognizable in this part, it was difficult to grasp the concept that she was only thirty-two while she portrayed this role.

Her body movements, her basic posture, her inflections, her mannerisms - it was difficult to see anyone except Edith Piaf while watching "La Vie En Rose." She was not Marion Cotillard portraying a legend, she became a legend in herself.

And assisting her through her remarkable transformations was a makeup and costuming crew that was truly something to be admired. The ability to successfully age someone and not have her look strange or out of place is a joint effort between the acting and makeup department. Yet when the pale and waxy complexion was applied to Cotillard's skin, she took the form of a week and decrepit elderly woman equipped with shaking limbs and an uncertain step : the pair of them made it terribly convincing that she was who she was trying to be.

The music throughout the film were, obviously, Piaf songs. Some original arrangements were created as filler music but nothing was distracting or taking away from the film as a whole. It was satisfying to go from one scene to the next awaiting the next piece.

In truth, the greatest faults of this film is the way the film was put together. The scenes were so out of sequence of her life that it was difficult to truly grasp what was happening. It seemed like a series of terrible circumstances, and when one clearly traumatic part of Piaf's life is shown in the last ten minutes of the film - it was a sequence that should have been shown in the beginning of the film. This was clearly a script flaw because of that. The words were well written, but the order they were placed was inexcusable. Not only that, but after a time the audience was expected to just intuitively know who certain people were, and how they were supposed to have met. In one sequence a woman is taken away from Piaf's home and in the next, some years later - the woman has returned inexplicably and confusingly.

The editing was well done, and certain transitions were quite delightful. However, others were choppy and difficult to follow - particularly when dates continued to be thrust at you and you were trying to remember how old everyone was when they were displayed on the screen. It was sloppy and lazy to not continue to post dates - especially when it was the only thing that was helping to put the movie into perspective.

Overall, with the extraordinary performance by Cotillard (and a truly well done supporting cast to go along with her), and a story that really was well written (despite it's poor organizational skills and chaotic time jumps), I would give this story a B+.

If you're interested in a movie about a historical figure who lives quite an interesting and fascinating life, and you enjoy great acting: you should certainly watch this film.

However if time jumps and confusing interludes that have far too many open endings are things that you cannot abide by: this won't be the movie for you.



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