La Vie En Rose

2008-05-06 17:43
What it's about:

In poetical fashion, this biopic of Edith Piaf (a French songstress whose voice captured the soul of Paris) weaves together periods of Piaf's life, mixing scenes from her deathbed, her early childhood, the height of her fame, disregarding chronology. We get a glimpse of a squalid childhood spent in the circus, brothel and on street corners punctuated by a long bout of blindness. Once discovered, Piaf's vocals catapulted her to fame even as her frail health, drug addiction and messy romances eroded her life all too quickly.

What we thought of it:

La Vie en Rose is a brilliant film that is as intense as Piaf herself. It doesn't fall back on Hollywood formulas and surprises with its unglamorous and realistic portrayal of Piaf's life. Random sequencing and jumping from childhood events to intimate moments, weaves a tale of triumph and tragedy. What really works is the undeniable magic of Marion Cottilard, who shines and captivates as an adult Piaf.

Her performance will mesmerize admirers but others may respond more ambivalently. Piaf is represented as an early rock star diva and her character is magnificent, but also unlikeable in many ways. Self absorbed, drug riddled, often tactless and emotional, Piaf is depicted as an eccentric artist on the verge of self-destruction. On stage she's a glowing star. Off the stage she's distracted by enablers, ghosts of the past, messy romances and can't tell her friends from her enemies.

Visually La Vie en Rose is well realized and shifts seamlessly from cramped apartments to plush concert halls. The background of bohemian Paris and trendy New York successfully evoke the old world glamour associated with Piaf and really add to the experience. Fans will rejoice that the messy, tragic fairy tale of her life is brought to screen at last.

La Vie en Rose is a worthy tribute to this legendary French star. But be warned, it's almost half an hour too long and that may be a challenge for those with only a passing interest in her life.

- Christina Carstens
A prosaic look at the turbulent life of Edith Piaf. Her story is so unbelievable it would seem contrived and melodramatic if it were manufactured. From circus to street corner to stage, her rise and demise are equally rapid and astonishing.

Anton 2008/02/22 9:55 PM
LA VIE EN ROSE One of the best movies ever! Marion Cotillard portrays Piaf brilliantly! Oscar material!!
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