I was all set to go see La Vie en Rose last weekend, but then I got distracted by all the nothing I was doing. So I still haven’t seen it, but I can’t wait — I’m hearing so many good things about the Edith Piaf biopic.
La Vie en Rose has a 76% positive rating at RottenTomatoes.com, and its star, Marion Cotillard, will receive the Hollywood Film Festival’s Breakthrough Actress of the Year Award in October. AfterEllen.com users msgulp and jix1125 have also sung the movie’s praises, and they’re not terribly easy to impress. There’s even some lesbianish content, according to jix1125: “I saw chicks making out for a second and a female bartender in a tux and mustache, along with a barely subtextual lesbian crush on Edith by her BFF. Also, Gerny’s is a gay-ish club with drag queens." Now that’s my kind of movie.
It seems the lesbian crush was barely subtextual in real life, too. Edith’s longtime companion, Ginou Richer, has this to say about their friendship:
“I think Edith was my most beautiful love story. We had all of love’s closeness and feelings, except for sex. We were jealous of each other, possessive of each other, we couldn’t be without each other. It was a very powerful kind of love.” (TheWorld.org)
In a fascinating interview with The Guardian, Richer praises Cotillard’s performance: "Marion has it exactly, the way she walks, talks, her way of laughing. The hardest part for her was lip-synching the songs, but really, you’d say it was Edith singing." Critics agree, calling Cotillard’s portrayal “the most astonishing immersion of one performer into the body and soul of another I’ve ever encountered in a film” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than monumental, a performance for the ages”(Boston Herald).
On top of all that, The New Yorker recently featured a fascinating piece by Judith Thurman about the film and Piaf generally. This bit in particular certainly caught my eye:
Piaf, who was prone to fits of hysterical laughter, was never embarrassed about making a spectacle of herself in polite company with drunken ebullience or pugnacity, and, as the daughter of an itinerant contortionist, who spent some of her formative years living in her grandmother’s brothel, she must have, by puberty, seen pretty much everything one can do with a mouth. That knowledge is in her voice. Yet its crystalline vibrancy defies the murky pathos of her story.
Well. Clearly I shouldn’t wait until my next full-of-nothing weekend to see La Vie en Rose. If you’ve seen it, give us your review in the comments.