Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Un Coeur Simple (A Simple Heart)

This classic adaptation of Flaubert’s short story is quite strong and very unsentimental which makes it very compelling especially because the performances by Sandrine Bonaire that plays Félicité and Marina Foïs that plays Mathilde Aubain, as well as the truly amazing recreation of the period.

The debut film by Marion Laine tells about Félicité that is abandoned by the man she loves and goes to work as a maid at widowed and severe Madame Aubain house to do all the chores and take care of the two young kids. But Félicité needs to love and be loved, something that during her all life will not be easy to do or have. In less than two hours we will be able see Félicité life as well as well as Madame Aubain life, which becomes a picture of two very different kinds of female existence. In the end is very much the story of two women and of course, a parrot.

As a movie is excellent in documenting nineteenth-century class relations by meticulously observing period detail both in production design and in daily customs, filling a complex and thoughtful picture of Flaubert’s rural world.

This is a very classic tale that only comes alive because the two leads strong performances and definitively is not for all audiences, as not only is classic literature based but also it has a slow pace and what some call “spare French mould”, so at least you have to like classic adaptations in French cinema.

This is a sad story but the movie is done so well plus the extraordinary performances makes it quite easy to watch.


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