La Vie En Rose


Oh, oui, je suis un Francophile – don’t get excited, that’s about the limit of my French, but after watching La Vie en Rose last night (£3 in Tesco) I found myself adopting a convincing accent, but lacking a convincing vocab. C’est la vie.

A quick look online and I see the title translates to A Life in Pink – which is strange, as it wasn’t my impression of the film. In honesty, this film was a life in grey – lived to the full but not clearly defined.

I know nothing of Edith Piaf, except the infamous closing scene song, so I was excited to learn something new. And I did to a degree: her transient childhood, her misspent youth, her shady associates and the love of her life. However, the end credits left me with many questions – exactly how old was Edith when she died (she looked 100 when everyone else hadn’t aged)? Who was her husband? How long was she in America? What drugs was she on?

For a biographical film La Vie En Rose skirted around the detail, (which is why it’s not a documentary obviously), but I found it frustrating. Personally, I find it hard to engage with a character when at the end of almost every scene you’re sat there thinking why did that just happen (cloudy introduction of hardcore barbiturates and vague mentions of liver conditions)?

Maybe the French know all this about her and as a silly Englishwoman I shouldn’t be so stew-peed. I should be more French, accept the whole picture, and not drill down for detail. So I did. I loved the scenes in Montmartre. The struggling artists, the endless champagne, raw talent, beautiful Parisians, the twisted cobbled streets…the tragedy waiting to happen. I felt the urge to light up a Gauloises and sing La Marseillaise. It was like watching the Moulin Rouge but without the circus filter.

Again, and this is getting picky as it’s about a singer, the music did start to grate on me after two hours. She was a wonderful singer, that much is obvious, but even the diva can’t have loved the sound of her own voice as much as the film producers. To hear her contemporaries would have made the contrast of her own talent more pronounced and given the audience’s ears a break.

Marion Cotillard undoubtly deserved her Oscar – convincingly swinging from fresh-faced teenage rebel to bitchy old biddy.

Overall I think 4 out of 5 – it’s sparked a curiosity in me to find out more about her, but if I hear "Non, je ne regrette rien" again, it will be too soon.

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