As adults, best friends Julien and Sophie continue the odd game they started as children -- a fearless competition to outdo one another with daring and outrageous stunts. While they often act out to relieve one another's pain, their game might be a way to avoid the fact that they are truly meant for one another.
Julien Janvier lost his mother young, drifted apart from his working class father and ever closer to confident Sophie Kowalsky, the Polish class outsider. Their dares game, symbolized by an interchanged music-box, grows ever bolder, regardless of harm to others and each-other. In his college years, it even suspends their relationship and toys with their marriages, but they are drawn back to each-other irresistibly. Written by
This may be one of the best French films I have seen in a long, long time. In many ways it reminds me of Berliner's "Ma Vie en Rose" (and not just because this film also uses Zazie's brilliant rendition of the Piaf song). It has much of the same Pierre et Giles aesthetic that made the other film so memorable and the child actors also display a similarly remarkable complexity that is so rare when they are usually depicted in film.
Very rarely does a film have the capacity to surprise me this much - either with the usually predictable storyline or when trying to understand the character's motivations etc. But this film continually had me reeling when trying to get a grip on it and, in the end, just when I thought it was a predictable love story...!! For this reason alone I found it a most remarkable film and I would strongly recommend seeing it.
This film will not appeal to lovers of mainstream American cinema - it is too intelligent in the way it challenges our usual expectations. We usually expect to finish watching a film and have no questions - to have everything wrapped up nice and neatly so we can get on with our lives.
If you do not want to suddenly find yourself asking "Pour quoi?" a week later or waking up with the haunting refrains of the unique renditions of the Piaf song in your head, then I would suggest you rent a more predictable movie.
However, if you like being alternately surprised, delighted and haunted by a unique film and wonderful soundtrack - check this one out.
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