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La Vie En Rose
Original title: La Môme
Genre Biography
Year: 2007

La Vie En Rose a.k.a. La Môme is a stirring biographical movie about Edith Piaf, one of France’s most famous voices. The woman was said to embody the very spirit of Paris, and her lyrics welled up from the pain and sorrows she endured. She grew up in poor conditions and spent some of her childhood in a brothel. Her beautiful blue eyes were the most notable thing about the child, until she was given the opportunity to open her lungs and sing with her circus-performing father. Her life story was strewn with thorns and roses, and La Môme tells of the Little Sparrow’s flight of fame and fortune.

She is portrayed by Marion Cotillard, who won an Oscar for this career best performance. It’s difficult to recognise Cotillard or even separate the actress from the singer thanks to the Oscar-winning make up department. Cotillard even shaved her eyebrows off and drew her hairline back in order to portray Piaf. She dedicated a number of years to this production and showcases her full potential with this gem of a performance. Piaf was steadfast, stubborn and said what she thought. She deserved recognition with a biographic film like La Môme, and her music and life are brought to the public eye.

La Môme is a French film and it wouldn’t be the same if it was made in English. The script gives Cotillard space to fill the character and creates four segments of her life to account for each decade. The music is phenomenal and the performances are as true as Kevin Spacey’s biopic of Bobby Darrin, Beyond The Sea. The story isn’t chronological and encounters Piaf on her childhood, discovery, road to fame, stardom and her demise. The events in her life were largely tragic, yet she managed to pick herself up and carry on doing what she did best. The film is guilty of over-dramatising at times and seems to fall in love with sadness. Director, Olivier Dahan keeps Piaf’s story bleak and each scene is tragic with very little to smile about. This rendition makes the experience depressing, heavy and intense.

The film is so engrossed with Piaf that the characters around her are sidelined and extinguished. The narrative’s jumps and limited knowledge of her counterparts allows Cotillard to shine, but alienates the audience. La Môme is a grandiose, dramatic, showy and drenching film that holds two stars up to the light. It’s a must-see despite its somber tones, and you don’t need to know anything about Piaf or her music to live in her world.

The bottom line: Depressing.

8.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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