At first it looked like this film could be fun but its shortcomings were so blatant that after about the first half hour the only enjoyment you can get out of it is by carping and criticising and making witty sideswipes to your friends (opportunities for which are plentiful). The French student riots of 1968 are established as the backdrop at the start of the film, and are crudely re-inserted at the very end. Through the main body of the plot that background's completely irrelevant, except that sporadically one of the main characters will read out a few lines of political philosophy to each other. The main plot is an awkward "three's a crowd" sexual coming-of-age story, where the wide-eyed American Matthew, naive to the point of self-parody, inserts himself into the incestuous relationship between two Parisians. Isabelle, as is typically the case in this sort of set-up, isn't really a protagonist but gets pulled between the two men who act as poles. The thing that offends me about the whole incest story is not, like most people who disliked the film, that I've got a moral objection, but the fact that it fails to develop in any way. We've got Theo, straight out of a nineteenth century opium den, being withdrawn and arrogant, and when he can't get his way through intimidation occasionally tries to strangle people. Then we've got Matthew who is distressingly earnest and comes up with sickening things all the time along the lines of "we're all connected", "love is the greatest force" but apparently has no objection to sitting in the bath with Theo having smug, ill-informed political debates and throwing menstrual blood around. None of it makes any sense. Isabelle and Theo are testing the boundaries of sexual norms in their corrupt bohemian boudoir and they choose to involve the completely incongruous Matthew. Why? - because he likes films, you see, and they need someone to run around the Louvre with them. Predictably Matthew, who thinks this is all larks for a while, soon enough tries to persuade Isabelle that sleeping with your brother is well, pretty wrong, you see, and girls your age should be going out with a boy to the cinema, drinking cherryade and paying for it by putting out a bit in the back row. But Theo, who's read about Mao Tse Tung don't you know, isn't to keen on this injection of capitalist bourgeois morality separating him from his big-breasted sister. So what does the film turn into - it's basically Matthew trying to make a 2-hour porn film with Isabelle, but having to appease Theo by occasionally getting into the bath with him and making arguments so desperately crass that Theo looks like an intellectual. Really this is an appalling hatchet job of a film, I've seen pornos with better characterisation and more subtle socio-political debates than this. Each of the three stars I've given belong to a part of Eva Green's (Isabelle's) anatomy.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the '68 Paris student riots.
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April 11, 2019