There's Something Missing...
Franz Patrick - wrote on 11/04/08
I almost want to give this picture a solid recommendation due to its mesmerizing second half, but I can’t find it in my heart to forgive the extremely slow and uneven first half. When Marion Cotillard (who played Edith Piaf) won the Oscar for Best Actress, I was extremely frustrated with the Academy because I expected Julie Christie to win for playing a woman who was ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease in “Away from Her.” But after watching some of Cotillard’s other films (like “Big Fish”), including “La Vie en Rose,” I realized how much she had to transform in order to play Piaf. I was really impressed because she almost had to carry the entire film by herself. I don’t know if it’s the characters or just the style of filmmaking that turned me off. This film does not have a typical American style biopic because it has many scenes that didn’t help to drive the story forward. Sometimes, the audiences are subjected to see scenes that are designed to muster some sort of an emotion and nothing else. Paif also didn’t click with me because she was a diva. One would think that her traumatic childhood would keep her grounded more than anything else. But that isn’t exactly the filmmakers’ fault because they were only trying to tell the story of what really happened. On other fronts, it was also nice to see Gérard Depardieu even for just a little bit. I wish he was on screen for a lot longer because his presence made the movie have some sort of pop. This film’s detached feel certainly backfired for me. If the second half had been the entire film, I would’ve been perfectly happy because it managed to show some heart. For a film that’s about two hours and twenty minutes, one would think that the film would have more substance. For an excellent biopic, I’d recommend “The Aviator” instead.