Pauline at the Beach (1983) Poster

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"L'amour, c'est quand sous la surface, on saisit d'un seul coup d'oeil tout la profondeur d'un etre"
stryker-55 January 1999
The summer is dying as Marion and her young cousin Pauline arrive at a Normandy coastal resort for a short vacation. They meet up with Pierre, an old friend, and Henri, an older man with whom Marion becomes involved.

A charming little essay on love and desire, this film could be called slow and slight - no matter, it follows its own internal purpose. These unexceptional people talk, lie, argue and make love in a natural and convincing way.

Pauline (Amanda Langlet) is a witty 15-year-old who blossoms in the course of the story. We first see her wearing a sailor suit, looking child-like and presexual. She watches the antics of the adults with detached contempt, then meets Sylvain (Simon de la Brosse), a teenage beach bum with whom she becomes intimate. Pauline rises above the jealousies and posturings of the grown-ups and in a subtle way becomes the dominant figure in this ramshackle little group of vacationers.

Rohmer wrote and directed this little comedy of love, and his chief satirical target is Marion (Arielle Dombasle). On the rebound from a foolish marriage, Marion enjoys posing as the worldly-wise older cousin, and she patronises Pauline abominably. It does not take long for Marion to betray herself as a phoney who talks in grandiloquent terms of love and the inner self, but who plays petty courtship games in a social circle of no consequence. "Je veux bruler d'amour", says this pompous prick teaser.

It is clear as soon as Marion meets Henri (Feodor Atkine) that she has the hots for him. Her former amour Pierre (Pascal Greggory) is ever after playing catch-up as the mating-dance between Marion and Henri intensifies.

The fulcrum of the film is the frolic in the sea involving the free-spirited Henri and the sweet-seller Rosette, who are joined by Sylvain. The latter is at a loose end because Marion and Pauline have gone on a day trip to Mont St-Michel, so he splashes in the sea with the older couple. To avert Marion's jealousy, Henri says that it was Sylvain who was trying to bed Rosette, not he - which leads to a major squabble.

Plot is unimportant in this delicate reflection on love and sexual desire. The film is an attractive ensemble piece whose characters linger in the mind long after action movies have been forgotten. Extensive passages of dialogue, endless ruminations on personal relationships and nuances of behaviour are the fabric of this edifice.

Verdict - very intelligent, very pretentious, very flirtatious, very longwinded, yet very appealing. Very French.
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My favorite Rohmer film
Gerry-1220 October 2001
Pauline just manages to keep her place in the center of this film, and how nice that is. Her indecisive cousin, a Rohmer type, almost takes over the film with a great figure. The two men are as unreliable as Rohmer's men always are. Pauline, though, is just the acute teen age observer that one can really love. Her boyfriend shows a lot of rectitude too.

This film is a kind of testament to whatever it is in teenagers that makes most of them survive fairly intact, incredible though that survival may be in retrospect. A sweet Rohmer film, and my favorite.

A cute touch is Pauline's two bathing suits - the one that is barely there shows the gawky but unselfconscious teen ager she is, and the modest one suggests the sexy woman she will soon decide to be.

Rohmer's work, even more than most good directors, is a series of essays on a single theme. This one gives more hope that women and men may be able to live together than most of the others do. Still I think Rohmer remains puzzled about how the sexes coexist.
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One of Rohmer's most engaging films
howard.schumann9 May 2005
One of Eric Rohmer's most charming comedies, Pauline at the Beach is a look at the conflict of an adolescent girl who is exposed to the dubious morality of the adults around her. Pauline (Amanda Langlet) is a fifteen year old girl entrusted by her parents to spend the summer with her older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasie) at a beach resort at the Normandy Coast of France. At the beach, Marion, who is divorced, runs into Pierre (Pascal Gregory), an old friend who is still in love with her even though she rejected him in the past. Marion, however, is more interested in the more worldly Henri (Feodor Atkine), an older friend of Pierre's, who is also a compulsive womanizer.

Pauline is a disinterested observer until she develops a relationship with Sylvain (Simon De La Brosse), a boy of her own age. There is a lot of talk about love and its expectations and Pauline drinks it all down. Marion tells Pauline that she was unable to love her husband and is now waiting for "something to burn inside her". Pierre has a very traditional attitude, thinking that love should only be based upon mutual trust but Henri believes in living for the moment and avoiding commitments. When Henri tries to cover up a secret affair with the candy girl (Rosette) by shifting the blame to young Sylvain, Pauline is called upon to sort out the truth and, in the process, does some fast growing up. Pauline at the Beach is one of Rohmer's most engaging films and the characters are delightful. By the end you feel as if you have made new friends but, alas, the summer vacation is soon over.
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Sophistries of love
So this movie is ostensibly about a young girl, Pauline, a ripening seed so to speak, and her summer holiday in north-west France. Rohmer however uses Pauline to expose the fallacies of the adults she runs into, who all have various misconceptions about love that make them unable to be happy.

Rohmer, I've noticed, likes his flowers, and I felt quite peaceful looking at the hydrangeas in the film, they're much better in a warm environment (I'm from the UK). There's a great shot as well of some roses outside Pauline's bedroom window, they're mostly buds, with a couple of half-flowered pinks and some quite fully out red ones. Metaphoric I presume for the joys to come and her stage of development. Aside from the relationships, which I'm going to focus on, I liked the holiday feel here, the way the beaches were shot reminded me of when I was a kid holidaying (actually in pretty much the same area), the sound of the sea breeze and the windsurfers jetting about.

Near the start there is an evening get together where the characters are discussing their conceptions of love, Marion is a fashion designer, a leonine blonde with the kind of body that would have had her cast as an extra on Baywatch in a snap, she wants to burn with love, brûlant, I believe is the word she uses (lovely French word). Marion has an Orphic concept of love, where she believes that people are completed by love, that she must look for a complement to her personality. Pierre, a graduate student who loves his windsurfing believes in well-matched love, and doesn't like the complementary theory, he thinks that people should be strong individuals and do not need to be completed by someone else. He believes that love is a long slow process where the strength of love builds gradually.

Pauline is Marion's young niece, aged sixteen I believe. Marion is looking after her, though in my opinion it is a close run thing whether Marion should be looking after Pauline or Pauline Marion. Pauline has no conceits regarding love, she will take things as they come, this seems to me to be by far the most sensible attitude. Henri is an ethnologist, tied to France by only his daughter, he is much more at home kayaking in Sulawesi, for him he is worn out with love and is more looking for a roll in the hay. His favourite record is tellingly called Chant des îles (Call of the Islands in other words).

Marion is the most annoying character for me (I'm sure everyone has their favourite), actually one of the most annoying characters I have ever seen in a movie. She leads Pierre on but behaves very distantly towards him. All he wants is to be with her, and he sees that her affair with Henri is founded on an illusion. All she sees when she sees Pierre though is someone who could take Pauline's virginity for her, a suggestion she repeatedly pushes on him, and is the ultimate in insults. Her great hypocrisy is that she tells Pierre that love can't be forced, however she then tries to do exactly that with Henri.

Mairon is one of the breed of unfortunate women who likes to look down her nose at young men, falsely believing herself to be more sophisticated. Everyone has preferences, but she has developed her preference into a conceit. Perhaps the most likable character in the film is the boy Sylvain, who is Pauline's age and very gentlemanly. Marion refers to him as a "'tit cretin", even though she knows absolutely nothing about him (at another point she describes boys of Pauline's age as stupid and brutal - bête et brutale). She talks a lot about seeing the depth of a person's soul, that's what you see at the moment of love, not that she has actually been in love before, as she readily admits. So I spent a lot of the movie being angry with Marion.

The quote at the start of the movie was not translated on the R1 DVD, "Qui trop parole, il se mesfait" which is from Chretien de Troyes, "No one can be too talkative without often saying something that makes him look foolish". That sums Marion up really well, but probably Pierre and Henri too.

Perhaps the message of the movie, as Pauline is the only character to receive affirmation, is that we should love as if we were children.

One last word is that this movie is a bit of an advert for drink driving! Marion and Henri both are pretty wasted when they drive home from a party.
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"There is hardly any activity which started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love." Eric Fromm
Galina_movie_fan16 November 2005
In the end of summer, strikingly beautiful and intelligent Marion who just got divorced brings her 15 year old cousin Pauline to a Normandy coastal resort for a short vacation. At the beach, they meet Pierre, an old friend who is still desperately in love with Marion, and Henri, an older hedonist who is only interested in sex and divides his time between Marion and a local candy girl, Louisette. Paulette meets a young man Sylvian but their romance does not live long thanks to Henry's cynicism and egotism. "Pauline at the Beach" is a very sexy, intelligent, and charming dramedy about love, lies, and desire and how sometimes the teenagers have a better sense of reality and better understanding of these matters than the adults around them.
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Love and other disappointments
Fiona-3929 January 2006
I'm going through a phase of catching up with Rohmer films I've missed, and this one was so good it's tempted me to post a comment again, something I haven't got round to for a while. It is perfect, typical Rohmer: location filming, very wordy script, indecisive characters...all in the service of Rohmer's film theory, that in cinema you use dialogue to tell (as in literature) and the camera to show. The interest and conflict come from the (inevitable?) mismatch between the two. Here, each of the characters needs desperately to believe that what they saw was the truth of the situation. At the end, Marion has learnt enough to know that her perception may be false. But she'll go on believing it anyway, because that is necessary to her sense of self. An excellent treatise on the way in which our perceptions are as important as the 'truth' of any situation. The colours in the film deliberately reference Matisse, and there is something of his style too: by showing the flat surface of the canvas, you both open up its beauty and reveal it to be a construction rather than a truth. The use of glimpses through windows adds a Hitchcockian dimension too. Another one to savour.
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Pauline at the beach-A quiet classic of French cinema nicely directed by Eric Rohmer.
FilmCriticLalitRao2 October 2013
What is love ? It is hard to answer this question as there is no single concrete answer to this puzzle as it continues to baffle most of us at various points of our lives. If one were to attempt a minor explanation in form of an answer then it can be said that love is something which can be felt only on a personal basis but needs to be described in detail to another person in order to give a clear picture of its qualities. It can easily be surmised that all these thoughts must have made waves in French director Eric Rohmer's (born-1920) mind when at the ripe age of 63, he set out to direct "Pauline A La Plage"-a tender yet bittersweet look at love. Hence, it would not be incorrect if someone were to qualify this film as a film about love, made for young people, by an old man. Despite the mention of a beach (Plage) in its film title, much of the film's action takes place in a house next to the beach. This is the place where six people-three men and three women learn a lot about love through an incident of infidelity. The success of Rohmer's film relies a lot on its narrative structure which has ample scope for lengthy conversations. It is nicely served by Rohmer's regular actors such as Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory etc. Lastly, a film for those who believe that love is a serious matter and that nobody should be allowed to influence other persons who may or may not be in love.
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Relationships for beginners
LeRoyMarko14 November 2004
Pure Rohmer essay on love and relationships. What I find very interesting about Rohmer's film is that you can always think back and apply some aspect of the story to your own life. Difficult break-ups, being in love with someone who doesn't love you or worst, who loves someone you consider an idiot. Just like Pierre is having difficulty explaining that it's not jealousy if he doesn't want Marion to get hurt by getting involved with Henri. Love, when you think of it, is one of the most difficult thing to explain. Actually, can you explain it? Sometimes, the obvious for one is not the obvious for another. And the "naïveté amoureuse" of the other can make someone go crazy.

The dialogs in this movie - and there's quite a few - are intelligent, well thought by the director. Some themes that I noted: in love, you share everything, even the suffering; perfection is oppressing; love is a type of illness. Each sentence of the script can practically be dissected.

A final word: I liked the performance given by Arielle Dombasle. She reminds me of Pascale Ogier in another great Rohmers film, "Les Nuits de la pleine lune", that came out one year later.

80/100 (***)

Seen at home, in Toronto, on November 14th, 2004.
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Another of Rohmer's small masterpieces
MOscarbradley29 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Pauline is 15 and she is spending her summer vacation in Granville with her older, sexually precocious cousin Marion. All Pauline has on her mind is spending time at the beach and if there are boys there, so much the better. To Pauline, they're nice but not indispensable, at least until she meets Sylvain ... and even then. Marion, on the other hand, likes to flirt, first with her ex-boyfriend Pierre and then with Henri, an older ethnologist who is something of a womanizer. The film, of course, is Eric Rohmer's PAULINE A LA PLAGE, one of his Comedies and Proverbs, and since we are in Rohmer-land there is a lot of talk, all of it interesting, all of it intelligent and a lot of sexual to-ing and fro-ing and many complications before matters resolve themselves and it ends just as it begins. Indeed this is one of the few Rohmer pictures in which people actually go to bed together rather than just talk about it. And, of course, it's funny in the way that great comedies should be funny, the gentle humour stemming from the characters and the situations they find themselves in. Indeed this, like so many other Rohmer pictures, is just about perfect and it's perfectly played by another of Rohmer's splendid ensembles, (Arielle Dombasle as Marion is another of Rohmer's great addle-headed heroines). A masterpiece.
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Maybe sexual innocence gives the best advice
rlcsljo7 September 2002
Young Pauline amusedly watches adults screw up their lives. To her the problems are obvious, but the adults remain oblivious. To them, age brings wisdom, but to Pauline it just brings unknowing incompetence. Perhaps youth has the advantage of thinking about sex with their brains, instead of their glands.
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the third picture of Rohmer's "Comedies and Proverbs" series
lasttimeisaw10 January 2015
Released in 1983, PAULINE AT THE BEACH is the third picture of Rohmer's "Comedies and Proverbs" series (6 in total, started with THE AVIATOR'S WIFE 1981, 8/10). The titular Pauline (Langlet) is attended by her elder cousin Marion (Dombasle), to stay in their family's vacation home on the north-western coast of France. They are two gorgeous beauties with gaping disparity, Pauline is a 15-year-old teenager, has a darker bob cut while Marion is a model-shaped blonde and just sets herself free from a failed marriage.

On the beach, soon they attract the attention of Marion's old flame Pierre (Greggory) and a single father Henri (Atkine), their contrast is plain to see too, Pierre is a windsurfing coach, younger and more handsome, while Henri is a bit bald, ordinary-looking. Henri invites all to dinner and they discuss about love, Rohmer effortlessly compresses their different philosophy in the conversation, Pierre is the one who lives on hope, contests in a more traditional value of love and morality, demands devotion wholeheartedly; Henri, on the contrary, is a rootless hedonist, affectionate but leaves no strings attached. For Marion, she believes love at first sight, the spontaneous sex appeal can drive her up in flames, however it should also be reciprocal, and in her case, she is quite confident since she is the paradigm of a perfect lover for any heterosexual man. Finally, Pauline, who by far hasn't foray into the territory apart from some puppy love, surprisingly has her own stance on the subject matter - you must know people to love them, not judging the book by its page, her precociousness strikes as a stunner.

That same night, Marion becomes the one who takes the move, not to the besotted Pierre, but the rather unappealing Henri, their chemistry blazes passionately, but Pierre doesn't intend to capitulate, his pursuit to Marion is as relentless as his repulsion to Henri. Pauline suggests Pierre is a more befitting match for Marion, and Marion proposes with the same thought, Pierre is the perfect choice for Pauline to spice up her adolescence. The upshot is the poor Pierre ends up in the friend zones of both. Pauline dates a local boy Sylvain (de la Brosse) around her age, and Henri hooks up with Louisette (Rosette), a snack-peddler on the beach, when Marion and Pauline are out visiting Mont Saint-Michel. He also fabricates a perfect lie to cover the story when Marion returns unexpectedly, leaving Sylvain as the fall guy.

Anyhow in Rohmer's cinema world, there is no place for melodrama, the lie will unravel in its due course, but there is no undoing for Henri, he is the one can take flight at any moment, for him, it is a white lie with the best intention without hurting Marion's feeling (although it does put Pauline and Sylvian's relationship under the strain). Atkine deftly leavens his part with a full-on composure, downplays his libido-driven lust and convincingly gives the lecture to Pauline about how he really feels for Marion. Greggory manages to balance Pierre's impeachable standing and behavior with his pesky bluntness to the extent where Rohmer asks for, one could rationally concur with his standpoints, yet, in the end of the day, he slips to be the most unlikeable character in the story, while the most admirable one is Rosette's Louisette, sky is the limit for her.

Dombasle is a bombshell in her pinnacle, but not an insipid one, she generously presents the whole spectrum of Marion's desire, fantasy and despondency. Langlet varnishes Pauline with her primary color, at first being upstaged by others, slowly her learning-curve of adulthood becomes the cornerstone of the film, at the final scene, which works magnificently in concert with the opening one, Marion might be the same, Pauline definitely acquire some nitty-gritty from her short stay, about both men and women, but can she excel in her upcoming adulthood? There is a bigger picture left unsaid, we are all indebted to Rohmer's mastery and grateful to the treasure trove he bequeathed to us, which is worth discovering and revisiting from time to time.
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Another Rohmer Snoozer
ccthemovieman-119 February 2008
Certain filmmakers can do no wrong in the eyes of national critics, which is one reason you should never pay attention to them. This film is a perfect example. The critics like director Eric Rohmer.

This movie is a boring soap opera about a woman and a teenager ("Pauline") she's taking care of for the summer, and the relationships they have with a few men. It's talk, talk, talk and more talk.

For those looking at the cover and hoping to be titillated, there are a few quick nude shots and a couple of swear words but otherwise this is a harmless French morality play. A friend of mine loaned me this tape. He thought he was getting some sexy French film, and was disappointed. I was just as disappointed because it also was so boring.

How this gets such great reviews is almost unfathomable.
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Love, Desire and Lies
claudio_carvalho19 November 2008
In the end of the summer vacation, the fifteen year old Pauline (Amanda Langlet) travel with her older divorced cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasle) to her seaside house in Granville. While on the beach, Marion meets her old friend Pierre (Pascal Greggory), who has a crush on her, and his new acquaintance Henri (Féodor Atkine), who lives in Oceania and is spending vacation with his young daughter in the resort. In the night, they go to a casino and Marion has one night stand with Henri, feeling a great passion for him. However, Henri is a wolf and has no interest in having any commitment with Marion. Meanwhile Pauline listens and observes the behavior of the older people while she has a little but disappointing romance with a boy of her own age.

A friend of mine is a great fan of Eric Rohmer and this is the first movie of this director that I watch; however I am disappointed with "Pauline à la Plage", maybe because of my greatest expectations with his work. This low budget movie has a simple, silly and shallow story; reasonable acting and empty lines; common screenplay without any originality and very poor camera and cinematography. I have not found anything special in this flick, and even the body of Arielle Dombasle is beautiful but not sexy. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Pauline na Praia" ("Pauline at the Beach")
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Eric Rohmer's Comedies et Proverbes series:Part 3.
morrison-dylan-fan30 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Finding my first 2 viewings of works from auteur Eric Rohmer, (a guy so hip that he never learnt how to drive,or ever hire a taxi,due to being a total hipster!) to be one that was better than expected,and one that was worse than expected,I decided to break the tie with a third movie.

The plot:

Waiting for her divorced to be confirmed, Marion goes with her young cousin Pauline to the beach.On the beach,Pauline reveals that she has yet to fall in love with a boy.Whilst walking on the beach,the women run into Marion ex-lover Pierre. Retaining feelings for her,Pierre tries to get back together with Marion.

View on the film:

Walking onto the beach,writer/director Éric Rohmer and cinematographer Néstor Almendros soak up the rays,with the burning white sun being joined by fresh,breezy blues and greens.Taking a slightly less restrained side,Rohmer catches the naked women in a delicate manner gripped by the youthful passion being painted on the screen. After fully embracing the bourgeoisie life in the first two offerings from this loose series,the screenplay by Rohmer distinctively shows some seeds of doubt over the lifestyle,with the untidy strings left between Marion and Pierre allowing Rohmer to wonderfully pull friction between the lines.Swimming in love for the first time,Rohmer gives Pauline's newly discovered liaisons a refreshingly youthful exuberance,as Rohmer sees Pauline at the beach.
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Boring soap opera - worst of Rohmer?
grubertm30 March 2007
Being a huge fan of Conte d'ete ( ) I was expecting to be wowed by another French beach romance with a lot of honesty, realism, and humor. Same director, same actress- what could go wrong? Unfortunately, Pauline a la plange is a huge disappointment. It's very slow and talkative which would be fine if the dialog conveyed insights into the characters, was meaningful, or original. But it comes across as a typical soap opera alternating between irrelevant pillow talk and jealous accusations. The only thing that saves this movie from being a complete disaster is a small amount of character development or at least "character change" with regards to Pauline. The source material is standard fare (sexual awakening during a beach vacation) but it could have been a decent film nevertheless if any of the characters were sufficiently interesting. Unfortunately that's not the case. Event though there are other shortcomings with Rohmer's season cycle, most of his later films are definitely leagues above this one.
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Faded Summer Love
writers_reign29 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Out of the 50 films he has made this is only the third title of Rohmer that I've seen. I recently decided that with several titles available on DVD I should try to catch up on his back catalogue. It didn't bode well that I fell asleep halfway through this one and had to play it again. It seems fairly obvious - and is confirmed to some extent by the comments one reads about him - that Rohmer is a filmmaker who has a definite world of his own which attracts a polarity of opinion. There seems little room for polite indifference here it's either as outstanding as Orson Welles or as pathetic as Baz Luhrmann. With a long way to go, certainly in my case, I would argue that a middle ground IS possible; a second viewing did hold my attention and I was unable to fault his observation. On the other hand I find that this kind of 'gentle', unobtrusive film-making works better, for me at least, in movies like Le Chignon d'Olga and Le Grande Chemin. Having said that I will certainly make it a point to catch more Rohmer in the future.
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sexual connections
SnoopyStyle16 January 2018
Fifteen year old Pauline is spending her summer vacation at the coast with her older cousin Marion. Marion is sexy and getting a divorce. They run into Marion's old friend surfer Pierre who introduces them to divorced father Henri. Pierre is desperate to get together with Marion but she rejects him for Henri. Pauline and young surfer Sylvain get together.

Amanda Langlet who plays Pauline actually looks to be 15. She's walking around in a skimpy bikini and trying to understand the stumbling sexual connections of the adults. There is one scene where Pierre gropes sleeping Pauline that plays more and more disturbing. My biggest problem is the static staging where the characters are frozen discussing whatever. It needs more movement in various scenes. Langlet has a steady presence although it would be great to have more explosive energy. The adults are lost which is disconcerning and Pauline is more adult than them.
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Whoever talks too much does himself a bad turn
tobias_68126 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Eric Rohmer (the director of Pauline at the beach) is perhaps most well-known for his film-cycles. He would take one main theme and approach it in a cyclic (some might even say repetitive) way through multiple movies. In his life he made 3 cycles: The 6 Moral Tales (in the 60's and 70's), The Comedies and Proverbs (in the 80's) and The Tales of Four Seasons (in the 90's).

Pauline at the Beach is part of the Comedies and Proverbs cycle (it's the third installment). As the title suggests the reoccurring motifs in the comedies and proverbs are a comedic approach and a unique proverb that each film is based on. Pauline at the beach is based on the proverb: "Qui trop parole il se mesfait" (a quote from Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval) which roughly translates to: "Whoever talks too much does himself a bad turn". The proverb is displayed as part of the opening credits.

The plot is very simple: The 15 year old Pauline and her significantly older and just divorced cousin (Marion) go on summer vacation to a house near a beach that belongs to Marion and her brother. During their stay they meet 3 men: Pierre, a former friend of Marion who is (still) in love with her, Henri, a divorced ethnologist who praises freedom and independence, and Sylvain, a boy not much older than Pauline. The movie tracks Pauline's and Marion's vacation and their affairs with the men. The catalyst for all their meetings is the beach and the characters express themselves through elaborative speeches about their love life and how one should love. Often their actions contradict what they say.

Rohmer counters the rather static talking by exhibiting layered backgrounds, beaches, gardens, clubs, streets, thus giving us a rich and detailed panorama; an atmosphere that feels just like holiday. He also focuses on body-language – subtle movements and quick glances give us a better idea of the characters and their relations. Especially Pauline gets her fair share of screen time. When Pauline, Marion, Henri and Pierre meet at Henri's on the first evening they have a lengthy talk about their love lives or rather their ideals concerning those. Pauline says nothing (until she is later asked to) and while all the other characters sit and talk the camera follows her when she walks over to the chimney (and later back again). In fact the movie seems to draw a line between Pauline and the adults – by framing and by the arrangement of dialogue. Pauline says relatively little. She seems to focus more on actions – when Henri kisses her feet to wake her she kicks him in the chest before saying anything.

A central conflict in the film ensues when Henri meets with Louisette (a girl who sells candy at the beach) and sleeps with her when he is already romantically involved with Marion. Marion comes back while both are still in bed and Henri convinces Marion that Louisette was really together with Sylvain (who is also at Henri's house) although he is romantically involved with Pauline. Subsequently the gossiping arises, Marion tells Pierre and Pierre tells Pauline who is as a result disappointed by Sylvain and doesn't want to see him anymore; and although Pauline later learns the truth her affair with Sylvain is over, the talking did all the damage.

A very defining aspect of Pauline at the Beach is if you look at it as a coming of age movie, a movie about the loss of a child's innocence, that Pauline doesn't actually lose her innocence – she never sleeps with Sylvain. However it could yet be described as a loss of innocence. She has now been exposed to the love-games of the adults, in fact without wanting it she has been a part of them. Thus she didn't lose her innocence by herself but her surroundings achieved that.

The movie has a very closed feel to it: it starts with Pauline opening the fences in front of Marion's house and ends with her closing them. It singles out Pauline's vacation and makes it stand as something unique from the rest of her life – thus highlighting the importance of the events that happened but also trivializing them as something that's over, closed and locked away in her memory, and has little connection to the rest of her life.

With Pauline at the Beach Rohmer paints an almost mystic painting of innocence and childish naivety. Through the contrast to the love-games of the adults he is able to single out Pauline who seems like someone stuck in the wrong painting. Amanda Langlet (Pauline) plays this role exhilaratingly well – she seems at the same time young and naïve, yet also wise and knowledgeable.

Pauline at the Beach is a love letter to childhood. It stresses the importance of naivety, openness, shows us the vile entanglement that detaches us from the world around us and from ourselves. Rohmer achieves a fresh and vibrant tone; he treats each character with respect and grants them the room that they need to not become objects, subject of the story but subjects by themselves; he effortlessly emulates the relaxed and laid back atmosphere of a summer holiday – yet over this joyous ambiance loom the dangers that the future will bring – all the entanglements that the world will plant upon you.
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The quintessential product of the Nouvelle Vague
riju928526 June 2008
Rohmer's version of the intricacies of love,life and adulthood,in general,makes for a great introduction to the French New Wave in one's late teens,probably. People and specific faces have always been Rohmer's staple issues and yet every time he does it with such a great deal of novelty. A love story 'between' 4,strike that,5 people(the candy girl is no less a part of the ensemble than Pauline herself) is not easy to conceive and much less, execute on camera. The excess in dialogue is perhaps the most un-Rohmeresque aspect of this number. A couple of performances perhaps were a bit out of tune with the rest of the cast's inputs. Sylvain,perhaps could have been better played by La Brosse. But the film,to my mind,is certainly not the best to have emerged from the Eric Rohmer factory.
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Rohmer is confident in his handful of characters so much, that he'd rather focus on the environment- if not on them- than investing on other distractions.
Arth_Joshi9 June 2019
Pauline At The Beach

Rohmer is.. just perfect. I couldn't come up with any other adjective to describe him and his film. The writer and director, Eric Rohmer, is whispering something pure than you cannot anticipate. After the electric shock that the film zinged me with, I have never, then, tried to know about the film before jumping in. Just discovering the absurdity and the genuinity of the storytelling as it unfolds in front of your eyes, is half the fun. Take the word and jump for it, no matter of what genre you think you belong to, there is every single type of appetiser for you. And the one that catches you off guard the most is the horror aspect of the storytelling.

Similar to James Ivory's picturization- I got the recommendation itself like that, it is a sort of film that Ivory would invest on- the film is easy to look at. With stunning live location coming alive on the screen and the fresh air blown in your face, the film stays breezy, even though derailing aplenty, grabbing other genre coins, in this big beautiful marathon. And a script that often looks like a part of some play, the philosophical conversations, if goes of preaching-to-the-choir tone, it is definitely intended.

That deliberate amateurish-ness and finiteness of each character's views, is what draws me. Never for a second, Rohmer wishes the film to grows beyond a film. The profound theories that they blab about is overpowered with a towering mesmerising method of his. Another smart trick he invests on, is placing the cameras in a specific place while projecting one definite location. This repetitive nature in his camera work allows us to feel like our home town. The roads, the balcony, the room and the house, we do get to spend a summer vacation in there along with Pauline At The Beach.
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Take it from a cad...or weep!
evening18 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Adults have more experience, but that doesn't mean that they are wiser. Au contraire!

Here we have the story of old-enough-to-know-better Marion (Arielle Dombasle) and her teenage cousin Pauline (Amanda Langlet), who are spending a couple idyllic weeks in a charming old house near the beaches of Normandy. Marion, though married, says she's still looking for the love of her life -- "I am not giving up. One day, the sparks will fly." Pauline professes to be more patient with her choice of a lover: "I wouldn't get carried away without knowing him."

Lo and behold, Marion falls into bed with local playboy Henri (Feodor Atkine), realizing from the start that she likes him more than he likes her, setting up a familiar rigamarole for herself in which she pines for a guy she can't have. Pauline, despite her lofty aspirations, also lets herself get quickly seduced, by unsophisticated beach boy Sylvain (Simon de la Brosse).

Against a gorgeous backdrop of abundant summertime vegetation and glittering seascapes, we observe each woman getting disappointed by the opposite sex. On the sidelines we view the unhappy character of Pierre (Pascal Greggory), who serves as a sort of Greek chorus and voice of reason, perpetually seeking logic in affairs of the heart and asking why women don't choose love partners who will treat them right.

By the end of the film, Henri has revealed his true colors, but don't assume he's a dummy. He offers Pauline some advice that bears listening to -- by women of every age. Allow yourself to be desired, he urges -- or you will never be happy. Hmmm. Now that's worth thinking about!
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Jellyfish and Cod Brandade
cronostitan14 November 2014
In a way, this movie is plainly the story of this kind of old sir whom was Rohmer; those with whom everybody is kind (necessarily, because they pay.) This charming goose whom is Pauline receives no criticism from him all the length, as expected, while the classical bastard seems to receive all its favors: it seems de facto that the director takes revenge for the youth of this mad lover whom is Pierre, who is in fact the nemesis of the movie. Aestheticising, wrong, this full-length film in the dialogues at first too long does not touch and bore extremely by its dead calm.

Marion being herself only a kind of unchanging statue without personality - more, driving a Mini Austin - a little bit stupid and deceived at the end. This movie finally, contrary to its smooth aspect and to its polished up talks, navigates towards the worst commonness unless nothing happens to annoy the synopsis. Also, the appearance of the real life which arouses the trader of candies is reduced to the role that a boeotian ignoramus - a maid of room from the former old time, I would say moreover...

The interest of the all set remains thus rather limited, excepted, in a obvious way, the sequence of the dancing which encloses the completion of the Ier act. It's a pity because this episode is again the most mature event of " Pauline à la plage. "
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