Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Movie: La Vie en Rose

Movie Release Date: June 8, 2007
DVD Release Date: November, 13, 2007
Genre: Biography, Drama
Running Time: 141 Minutes
Director: Olivier Dahan
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Gerard Depardieu

Every once in awhile, a movie comes along and you're completely blown away by a performance. La Vie en Rose, a biopic on one of France's most beloved singers, Edith Piaf, is one of those movies. The tragic, complicated, and larger-than-life story of Piaf is perfectly captured in a tour de force of a performance by French actress Marion Cotillard. The scenes in the film jump back and forth, transcending through time, to chart her rise from the tough streets of Paris to her downfall into drug abuse, illness, and subsequent death at the age of 47. Because there is no straight-telling of the story, we are aided by dates that appear at the bottom of the screen, to help sort out the different time jumping that takes place.

I don't necessarily agree with the way writer-director Olivier Dahan has chosen to tell the story using this method. It requires the audience to do more work than necessary, to figure out what just happened in a scene, and how it relates to the next scene. Piaf's life, filled with tragedies, love affairs, tantrums, confrontations, moments of bliss, and of course, that voice and her performances, probably does benefit from an unconventional telling of the story. But the film eventually gets bogged down by its own novelty.

The saving grace of the film is Marion Cotillard. As far as celebrity biopics go, they are probably more of an actor's genre than anything. Just ask Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Reese Witherspoon (for Ray and Walk the Line, respectively) whose careers turned a new corner from playing real people in biographical films. Cotillard is probably best known in the US for playing Russell Crowe's love interest in the romance A Good Year. She was actually my favorite part of that movie, just cause she's really pretty. =P Her performance in La Vie en Rose proves that she is more than just a pretty face.

I had no idea that same actress was the one playing Edith Piaf until I IMDB'd it afterwards. I was so completely blown away by Cotillard's portrayal of Piaf. She embodies the role, and throws herself into bringing the legend to life. Every hand gesture, every lip-synching performance, every crying tantrum- she completely disappears in the role. She says she studied hours upon hours of footage of Piaf, and what she does here is AMAZING. It's not easy to lip sync and make it look real, but watching her on-stage scenes, you think that she's the one singing. And not only does she look different from the way she usually does (she shaved off her eyebrows and scaled back her hairline for the role), but she sounds completely different as well. She just becomes Edith Piaf. Cotillard is officially my pick for Best Actress this year.

: B (watch it for Marion Cotillard's performance)
Notes: Check out Edith Piaf's amazing voice: La Vie en Rose, Non, je ne regrette rien


Anonymous said...

oo, i've been meaning to see this movie....looks really good =)