Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Mini Review – La Vie En Rose

I went into this not expecting very much after reading various reviews, so this will be short.
Marion Cotillard was fantastic. She really did do a fantastic job in mimicry.
Not only did she have to mimic Edith Piaf’s voice, walk, performance style, and look, she also had to do this during various stages in her life.
From about 18 till she died at the age of 48 (but looking like she was 80 due to liver cancer and a harsh lifestyle of booze and drugs) Cotillard manages to realistically portray the aging process, so much so that you look past the make up and wigs and are still wondering how they did it.
However this is another performance in a long line of them that bases itself on brilliant mimicry. I never understood anything more about Piaf other than she had a hard childhood, was a bit of a boozer, and loved to perform.
This is mainly the fault of the director Olivier Danhan, who spend the entire movie jumping around from her being a child to aged, to a teenager, to a young woman, and back and fourth. I gave up trying to make sense of it all and just waited for the songs.
What this style odes do it take away ALL of the drama and distract for the leads performance. Which is a pity.
Oscar wise Cotillard could well show up, if the American Academy actually care enough. C-

What was far more interesting was the trailer for ‘The Walker’ with Woody Harrelson, Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall and Kristen Scott Thomas. The strangest and most oddly compelling cast assembled that I can remember.
I wonder how it will work. Early reviews are rather stellar, esp for Harrelson.


Jose said...

That movie looks fantastic, gotta love Lauren Bacall's bitchiness, but out of everything Paul Schrader's ever done, did they really have to associate him with "American Gigolo"?

Michael Parsons said...

Lol, I guess it is fondly remembered, they want ass in seats!

Anonymous said...

mike, i think you over simplify the art of mimicry without fully grasping the challanges of acting. to sustain a character whether fictional or based on a real person is an incredibly difficult thing to do but to add on the fact that you have to infuse an emotional life, with consistant recognizable gestures and make it believable for a two hour movie thats probably filmed over 2-4 months this is what illustrates the craft and gift of the artist/actor.

you never seem to make the same critic of actors who have to bring to life favorite fictional characters from novels, think of 'brokeback, harry potter, the hours, colour purple, and countless other films that basically have reqired actors to 'mimic' anothers artist very vivid creations.

and these stand apart from an actor who has free range on a character created for screen (and if you read screenplays as i'm sure you do) you know they don't give to much in terms of really creating a characters innerlife, this is why actors are mostly hired to play themselves in these roles, or why some take the stakes higher and do something more with the characters. however, the choices the actors make can only be marked by the depth of an actors imagination. that is an art too. but i'm simply trying to show why 'mimicry' continues to impress even actors, and why? it is the the ability to fill those people we know with a hardcore emotional self while still pulling out of the hat all an actors technical glory!
andra xo

Michael Parsons said...

I totally agree with that Andra, but for me, there have not been that many 'biopic' performances that actually really impress me.

Angela Bassett in "What's Love Got To Do With It", Philip Seymore Hoffman in "Capote" (plus many others) did, and Marion Cotillard did, however I do feel the directional style of "La Vie En Rose" did a great disservice to the performance. I never really got the full emotional impact because of the jumping about in the time line.

What differs for me between alot of the 'Awarded' biopic performances (Ray, The Aviator, The Last King of Scotland), and alot of the brilliant acting portrayals of fictional caracters is just that. With the former I am always aware of the performance. And for me, being aware of the performance distracts me from getting lost in the film.

So Andra (rolls head back and forth as though I am a black woman) SNAP!!!!

Anonymous said...

tsssssssssssssst cha, (i am a black woman- in drag) point very well taken, i have yet to see 'Ma Vie En Rose' but i just wanted to point out your 'careless' attack on what you like to call mimicry. if the directorial issues are your beef, that is a whole other ball park. yes a bad director can spoil a script, a movie, and an actors performance (its all in the edit).

So go after some directors...wait leave Clint Eastwood alone though.

feenixboi said...

I wasn't all that with La Vie en Rose. Marion Cotillard did a fantastic job playing Edith Piaf but the film was somewhat lacking in both direction and substance. I did not care about the characters. The film jumped too much and this did not enhance the story for me. All I was left with was a rather depressing portrait of a rather depressed woman.