2.5 stars out of 5
The standard for bad movies in our family is Truly, Madly, Deeply, a sweet comedy from 1991. Marlow as 10, and we had already seen three movies that day, so she wasn't in the best of moods at 8pm as we settled in for our last film. I loved it, she loathed it. She saw it again in college, and tells me she still loathes it, so it wasn't just her age and the time of day.
This comes up because we went to see Coeurs, directed by Alain Resnais (American title: Private Fears in Public Places) a lovely two-hour, subtitled French film. It was Father's Day, so I saw it with Vicki and both daughters. Rae said if we hadn't all been there, she'd have walked out. Then she delivered the ultimate insult: "worst movie since Truly, Badly, Deeply." [We have another standard for animated films, Little Nemo in Slumberland, but that's a different story.]
She began by stating the fact that she's fine with character studies, with subtitled French films, and with films that don't move very fast or go very far. This one, she said, was like swimming in molasses, went nowhere, and did so very slowly. The only redeeming feature, she thought, was the fact that people spoke so slowly that she could work on her French.
Well. Alan Ayckbourn adapted his play for the screen with the help of Jean-Michel Ribes. The plot, according to IMDB:
In Paris, six people all look for love, despite typically having their romantic aspirations dashed at every turn.
This sounded a lot like the recent 4.5 star movie, Paris, je t'aime, which was also a series of anecdotes about Paris, in French with subtitles. Conceptually, yes. But while Paris was a masterpiece, this is merely an almost good film. Not as bad as Rae says, but not very good either. It is slow, and sometimes confusing. However, the cinematography is terrific. I could spend two hours looking at Paris and French apartments and be happy--wait, I did spend two hours looking at Paris and French apartments.
Finally, I must compliment the incredible special effects with snow, both inside and out. It gave the whole film a gloss of magic that suited its elegiac mode. Not worth a special trip, but you don't have to run away from it. Unless you really hated Truly, Madly, Deeply.