8 January 2022

Olivier Dahan's La Môme | La Vie en rose (2007)

This biopic – and biopics can be hellishly diffcult to represent – is obviously designed with an international audience in mind, particularly those who at least know a little of the great Édith Piaf: it has, after all, a different title in the English version, in French no less, but of course named after one of the most famous of her songs. And there are, of course, many more songs in the movie. What positive things can I say about this film? Marion Cotillard's acting is superb, and somehow she's not only managed to convincingly show Piaf at various stages of her life, but also get round the question of her small height: a truly magnificent performance.

But the film itself? Oh. It weaves in and out of different periods for no apparent reason, it's a stew of scenes that not only don't follow from each other but seem sewn together with meaningless logic. If this were intended to be a cinematic version of a patchwork quilt it would be brilliant. As it is though, it's a hopeless failure. I was waiting for an appearance of someone acting Moustaki to give a tiny hint of redemption but no. And even a little humour wouldn't have gone amiss, such as the time in 1961 when she tried to seduce Johnny Hallyday – to his horror! Or wasn't that occasion generally known at the time of the film's release? Whatever – even Marion Cotillard can't save this turkey.

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