Monday, July 02, 2007
La Vie En Rose
"Did either of you just see La Vie En Rose?" asked the brunette, 30-something beauty in the crimson dress that made full use of her bosom.
Three of us female types were each at our own sink in the restroom of the city's poshest cinemaplex when this query was made. I glanced up into the mirror, hands still mid-soaping. The third woman, she of non-crimson bosomy-ness, ignored the question and kept her head down. I turned, eyelids smeared with mascara, to answer: "Yes, I did. It was beautiful. I'm still crying."
"I'm limp," sighed the crimson one, as she shook her hands dry while reaching for the paper towel dispenser.
She and I shook our heads at each other, smiling meaningfully, as she exited the public loo. Just another one of those bonding-between-strangers moments that makes movies so magical.
Devastatingly beautiful. That is how I would describe the film La Vie En Rose, its story, its heroine and its star. Basically a biopic of France's sweetheart, Edith Piaf, the film captures something far more significant than a timeline of biographical facts. It captures a woman's heart.
Sure, I felt the need to quibble early on while watching the film with director Olivier Dahan's decision to jump jarringly back in forth in time. But as the end credits rolled and I was still wiping tears from my cheeks, I had to wonder if this segue-shattering had been intended to dilute the impact of the tale's tragedy by giving glimpses of the gut-wrenching future within the gut-wrenching past. Perhaps so. Nevertheless, by the film's conclusion, I'd forgiven all possible editing missteps for the glorious genius of the heartbreaking whole.
Co-writers Dahan and Isabelle Sobelman were blessed with the gift of a true story that delivered on all dramatic counts--childhood sorrow, miracles, heartbreak, romance, triumph, defeat, peace.
The filmmakers were also blessed with the casting of the utterly remarkable Marion Cotillard, who deserves every best actress award they're giving out in the next twelve months. She inhabits this enigmatic diva--from her doe-eyed, shoulder-mincing street performer days to her mink-draped, full-diaphramed musical royalty status to the frail, confused paleness of a goddess's old age--with guts, fire and compassion.
To the filmmakers, cast, crew and Edith herself, I must say: Bravo. Encore. Merci.