There's not much use in describing the plot of this film. It covers Edith's life, from a small child until her death at age 47. This is not a chronological narrative, though. The screenplay bounces back and forth, from Edith as a sickly child being raised by prostitutes, to a bona fide success, back to her days as a singing street urchin, over to her final days, and then back to her as a struggling artist.
|"B-A-D-U-P-B-R-I-N-G-I-N-G! That's right!"|
|Nobody mentions the funny hair, though.|
Here's what you will take away from a viewing of La Vie En Rose: Marion Cotillard is amazing as Edith Piaf. This isn't one of those Oscar wins or nominations that makes you ask, "Really? Gwyneth Paltrow? I've seen more convincing cross-dressers on The Kids in the Hall." This is an obvious must-win performance. I am rarely bowled over by a lead actress role (I blame the lack of fun and complex roles for women), but Cotillard was simply astounding, and she does it without singing in the film (which I appreciate). It's not just that she played her character at different ages, but each age range had a unique, yet connected, performance. This is an acting tour de force. See what I did there? I used a French term to accurately describe her acting; the term translates roughly into "Tour of Force," where Force is probably a French museum.
|Jokes about the French language are never funny.|
|Depardieu, disguised as a lumpy seat cushion to get closer with the ladies.|
As much as I appreciate Cotillard in this film, I can't say that I enjoyed watching the movie. It was a depressing film --- which is by no means a deal-breaker for me --- that felt about an hour longer than it really was. Part of this is due to the unconventional editing; without a dramatic arc, there is no anticipation of the ending. I think Oliver Dahan made the best Piaf biopic he could, but some stories don't have happy endings or compelling climaxes. There is a lot to like in the movie --- the music was great (although I would have appreciated subtitles), the makeup was an astounding achievement, and the acting was good all around --- but the story itself drained me. I'm not sure why. Maybe too much time was spent with Edith as a child? I'm not sure.
|Piaf's father, apparently selling his daughter's hair on the street.|
Don't misunderstand me: see this movie and marvel at Marion Cotillard. I may not have liked the film as a whole, but this is worth watching.