Twitter Reviews

12/17/07

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I didn't know anything about Edith Piaf before watching this film; sure I'd heard a few of her classic songs, but I had no clue who the woman behind them was. It isn't the easiest film to sit through; it's French, nearly two-and-a-half-hours long, and an extremely depressing story. But I'm very glad to have seen it.

Even though it's long and sad, the film is consistently entertaining. Edith lived a very short, but extremely full life. While still very young, her father drops her off to live at a whorehouse, where she is taken in by a young prostitute who always wanted a child of her own. It's from her and her house-mates that Edith learns how to sing. Her father comes back a few years later and rips her from this home she's learned to love. He's a street performer and soon she's in on the act, using her young, but already wonderful voice to make money.

As a young lady she's still living off the money she makes singing on the streets. Before Gérard Depardieu's character notices her talents and has her sing in his club. From there she's given lessons on how to sing and perform properly, and in not much time she's a national sensation. She was one of the first Diva's. As soon as she has a little money and fame, she's horribly demanding of everyone around her.

What keeps the standard bio-pic storyline fresh; her rise-to-fame, drug use, fights and lovers; is the editing. The film is constantly jumping back and forth in her time-line, from her youth, till her untimely death; yet it is a cohesive and satisfying story.

But what really makes the film worthwhile is Marion Cotillard's powerhouse performance; rightfully nominated for an Oscar. She plays everything from her all-out craziness to her girlishly in love note perfect; she also does maybe the best lip-sync work ever. You really believe it's her belting out these songs; Edith's voice is so unique that they made the right choice in keeping it in the film.

La Vie En Rose is a beautiful and extremely well crafted film. Do yourself a favor and see it.


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