Danville Express

Living - June 29, 2007

Movie review: La Vie en Rose ***

Rating: PG-13 for unsettling themes and language Run Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Marion Cotillard burns down the house as France's gifted but self-destructive superstar Edith Piaf.

Piaf wasn't called "Little Sparrow" for nothing; her lilting voice made the angels weep. But the psychological damage from a dysfunctional upbringing left scars that would impact the rest of her life.

Raised by alcoholic parents and left to her own devices at her grandmother's dreary brothel, a rejected Edith knew plenty of hard times. Ultimately she hoped to leave her harrowing past behind and struck out on her own, singing in the streets for paltry francs.

Nightclub owner Louis Leplée (Gérard Depardieu) heard those magical tones wafting from Parisian alleyways and immediately offered her a job at his disreputable nightclub. From there La Mome Piaf's star rose astronomically, but not without the whiff of scandal as Luplée's murder left her shrouded in suspicion and guilt.

Love was Piaf's fleeting sanctuary; her torrid affair with married middleweight boxing champ Marcel Cerdan (Jean-Pierre Martins) a tonic that soothed her very soul until his untimely death sent the weary chanteuse spiraling into a vortex of grief and substance abuse from which she never recovered.

Cotillard manages to embody all of Piaf's agonizing glory, from her staggering talent to the frivolous martyrdom and stunning flaws. Her temperamental star is charming, demanding and difficult, a true artiste for whom nothing and no one is spared her acerbic tongue.

Piaf's music is equally mournful and palliative; eerily evocative as it smoothes over a dizzying whirlwind of flashbacks and the visual squalor of life on the stark side.

As arresting as Cotillard's performance is - a brilliant achievement - her movie is a tousled biopic, both bleak and disturbing, a lengthy bad dream that wrings out every drop of sympathy and sentiment, leaving a dark well of sorrow in its wake.

--Jeanne Aufmuth

For more movie reviews or local show times, go to www.DanvilleWeekly.com


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields