La Vie en Rose

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 93
  2. Negative: 7 out of 93

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User Reviews

  1. MM
    Jul 5, 2007
    0
    Formulaic, made-for-TV, slap-dash approach to a story which would have been interesting if more insightful, less superficial.
  2. SamJ.
    Jun 16, 2007
    0
    This movie is a complete mess, and I am appalled at the user reviews, claiming otherwise. I love Piaf and the music, but this film is a sad disappointment.
  3. MarkB.
    Aug 7, 2007
    3
    Roughly 20 years ago, Clint Eastwood excoriated the performances of Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley in 1982's biopic of star-crossed actress Frances Farmer, Frances, citing them as prime examples of just the kind of overblown histrionics that critics and Academy Award voters traditionally get suckered in by. Clint was wrong as far as that particular case was concerned, but his comments Roughly 20 years ago, Clint Eastwood excoriated the performances of Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley in 1982's biopic of star-crossed actress Frances Farmer, Frances, citing them as prime examples of just the kind of overblown histrionics that critics and Academy Award voters traditionally get suckered in by. Clint was wrong as far as that particular case was concerned, but his comments have proven to be notably instructive in light of the universal acclaim--adulation, even--that Marion Cotillard has received for her shrill, one-note, nails-on-the-blackboard portrayal of legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf; put simply, it's the most overrated acting work so far this year in service of what is arguably the most overrated movie so far this year. Richard Roeper and others have gone so far as to call upon the Academy to just dispense with the calendar and hand Cotillard the Best Actress Oscar right now, but thankfully we've still got several months of unknown competitive possibilities ahead of us. (It's a shame, though, that while Cotillard is a virtual shoo-in for a nomination, such infinitely richer, subtler, more nuanced work by Keri Russell in Waitress, Molly Shannon in Year of the Dog, and perhaps even Julie Christie, eschewing Lifetime-movie-of-the-week shorthand as an Alzheimer's patient in Away From Her, are probable longshots.) Cotillard gets to do everything that the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences traditionally likes to see in its favorite performances: scream at people, suffer alcohol AND drug addiction, scream again, sing, scream some more, be physically incapacitated, wear a ton of old-age makeup and die an on-screen death that seems to take nearly as long as Piaf's REAL demise did. What Cotillard DOESN'T do (except in a very few scenes with her lover and, near the end of her life, a reporter) is infuse her character with much variety or sympathy, athough to be completely fair to Cotillard, writer-director Olivier Dahan, who wallows in tragedy and degradation with at least as much gusto as Eli Roth and Roland Joffe do in their recent examples of torture porn, doesn't give her much of a chance. No, we don't want to go back to those sanitized showbiz biopics of the 1940s, in which Lorenz Hart and Cole Porter's sexual preferences couldn't ne honestly depicted (or even mentioned), and you could well argue that Edith Piaf wasn't a very nice person anyway, so why shouldn't her movie biography reflect this? I'd counter that musical icons Ray Charles and Johnny Cash were also very deeply flawed individuals, but that Jamie Foxx and Joaquin Phoenix (and the makers of Ray and Walk the Line) infused them with moments of warmth, decency and humanity without at all compromising or whitewashing their darker sides. At the very least, La Vie en Rose could showcase the vocal talent that made "The Little Sparrow" so passionately loved on both sides of the ocean, but Dahan perversely doesn't even let us hear her sing her way to the top in one key montage sequence--just one of many irritants to be found in his endlessly annoying 52-Pick-Up flashback structure. (He does, however, take great glee in having her collapse onstage not once, but twice.) The superb period set design, art direction and costuming is absolutely unassailable, and in most other instances would demand a big screen viewing in spite of all the aforementioned flaws, but this astonishingly, bullyingly unpleasant film qualifies as a rarity among rarities: a musical that, if seen at all, is best suited for a DVD rental...with the sound turned all the way down. Expand
  4. GinaC.
    Nov 27, 2007
    3
    The jumpy editing ruined it for me; it kicked me right out of the movie and prevented real involvement in, and caring about, the main character. And Why did the movie skip over the years of WWII? I hope in future someone makes a good movie about Edith Piaf. She's an interesting subject and deserves a well-done film bio. This isn't it.
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Hurtling and impassioned, driven by some of the greatest popular music ever recorded, this wildly overripe and unkempt biopic is a true experience.
  2. 50
    Uplifted beyond its merits by a stunning performance from Marion Cotillard, the humdrum biopic of Edith Piaf, La Vie En Rose, jogs obligingly along with Piaf the legend rather than the woman.
  3. La Vie en Rose elevates Piaf the archetype over Piaf the artist. Although I question this approach, I'm not sure it could have been done any differently, at least given the facts of Piaf's life. If there is such a way, Duhan didn't find it.