Monday, April 21, 2008

Love Songs (Les Chansons d'amour)

So, in case people haven't picked up on this, I'm a fan of musicals. Not so much of the big, overwhelming, cheesy sort (see Wicked) but of the smaller scale sort. Not that I never like the big stuff, but sometimes the small ones seem more effective. Les Chansons d'amour isn't a great movie by any means but it is one I thoroughly enjoyed.

To get the criticism out of the way, the movie never quite seems to develop its themes fully--it feels like more could have been done in places and the ending is abrupt--and the subtitles for the songs are sometimes good and sometimes a bit of a disaster. Wendy assures me that the lyrics are decidedly not awkward in French and are, in fact, very good, so blame that one on the translator.

Still, there's more good than bad. The music is a sort of French pop that I enjoy and the actors do a nice job of handling the musical numbers without seeming forced. (No subtitles in the clips on YouTube, unfortunately.)

The family in the movie is a nice change from the dysfunctional families that seem to pervade most movies and the relationships between the family members seemed more true and familiar to me than those in many movies. The story is emotionally involving and I think what the director is aiming at in his examination of love--the ways in which it shifts, the relationships people form to fill different needs--is interesting. And Louis Garrel is delightful. So all in all well worth seeing, I think.

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