|La Vie en Rose (Extended Version)
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Picturehouse and HBO Films present a critically-acclaimed biopic about the legendary international singing icon Edith Piaf whose voice and talent captivated the world. Starring award-winner Marion Cotillard (A Very Long Engagement A Good Year) in an astonishing performance the film is a portrait of a remarkable artist born into poverty who survived using the only gift she had ? her voice. Piaf?s tragic life was a constant battle to sing and survive to live and love with no regrets.Running Time: 141 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/BIOGRAPHY UPC: 026359441226 Manufacturer No: 94412
Edith Piaf is the subject of La Vie en Rose, director Olivier Dahan's powerful if emotionally redundant biographical film about the iconic French superstar whose life, as depicted here, seems to have been a numbing succession of tragedies interrupted on occasion by artistic triumph. Dahan's portrait begins with Piaf's stay in a brothel as a young girl. Left to the care of her grandmother (who runs the place) after her father pulls her away from a narcissistic mother, Piaf undergoes significant health problems and grows up to sing on the street in lieu of outright prostitution. The film pulses along with the usual biopic rhythms, with pivotal moments in the life of Piaf (played as an adult by Marion Cotillard) turning up regularly only to be smacked aside by the unseen hand of perpetual misfortune. There's the impresario (Gerard Depardieu) who recognizes Piaf's great but raw talent only to have a run-in with the criminal element around her. There's the heavyweight fighter (Marcel Cerdan) who becomes the love of Piaf's life but can't be with her. Drug addiction, random car accidents, tax problems, you name it, it's all here, topped by an unnerving revelation that pops up in La Vie en Rose's final moments. After awhile, with such a concentration of bad news squeezed into 140 minutes, one begins to wish Dahan had taken a more expansive approach to Piaf's life and times. But the film is never less than interesting, and the lead performance by Cotillard is often astonishing. --Tom Keogh
- NO REGRETS
La Vie en Rose follows in the footsteps of other biopics of artists whose lives were tortured in order to express their inner souls through their art. Take for example Lust For Life, the biography of Vincent Van Goagh or Moulin Rouge, the story of Tolouse La Trec. Or how about Ray, the recent biopic of Ray Charles. Then there's the outstanding Lady Sings The Blues, the life of Billie Holliday. All of these artists were causualties of horrific lives wrought on by years of drug addition, acoholism and in some cases even mental disorders. So what makes these stories so intriging and their lives so compelling? Is it the aspect of viewing a catastophic train wreck that we can not look away from? Or is it the need for us to try to analyze their work through their suffering? I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know that I sat through two plus hours of La Vie en Rose and I was captivated by both the stellar performance of Marion Cotillard and the incredible artistry of Edith Piaf herself.
There are so many reasons to adore this movie. For one it will transport you into the incredible world of pre-war Paris....A world of pimps and prostitutes, circus performers and side-show freaks, mobsters and petty street thieves. It's a world where drugs alcohol and illicit sex all coexist among the denizens of the cabarets and brothals. We see their lives consumed by excess with little or no regard for self-preservation. This is the world Edith Piaf came from and never left far behind. No matter what heights she climbed, no matter how much money she earned or how much adulation she received from her fans, she could never cast off her life as a child fending for herself on the streets. She could not escape the pimps, the dope dealers and users who would not release her from their grasp. But as she professed in her signature song "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien", she had no regrets, no appologies and no remorse for anything she did. She led her life on her own terms and for an artist, this must surely be the greatest of all triumphs.
- The Great Lady seen as a besotted drug addict
This film had an enormous success when it came out and it was the winner of quite a few awards, Oscars and Caesars. But the DVD is already on sale, and at a dramatic low price. The film was well made, rich indeed and the actress did a fabulous composition to fit with her part, because it was only a part that was dictated by the author and director. All the nostalgic liked it for a short while because it was some music from a distant past but so few of Piaf's songs were actually performed, and in their entirety, that the film lost its nostalgic appeal very fast. But the worse was still to come because the composite portrait painted on this screen has little to do with the real woman. So many things are absent. Her deep connections with Jews during the war for one, and after the war for two, with her famous Exodus song. And the extremely devout Catholic mirage projected onto that woman is absurd, to the point of ignoring her last husband nearly totally, since he was a Greek Orthodox. The woman is betrayed into a neurotic even psychotic capricious clown that kills herself with morphine and other drugs, willfully and consciously out of foolishness, love seen as a derangement, and plain suicidal conduct. She wasn't that. She was warm, loving, extremely attentive to others and many other qualities that are ignored and even rejected so that she appears as a crazy Catholic that is attached, in the most derogative Buddhist meaning, to a cross and a Saint and Jesus. I was asked recently to produce a note on her "Jewishness" and I was embarrassed because in spite of all the links she had with Jews and Judaism and Israel, it is difficult to find in her life a real testimony about her religion, especially with her last marriage being in the Orthodox faith. And I think that this bigotry of the film explains why it is already nearly given away to anyone who wants to grab it. I personally feel betrayed by this film because I lived that period in a completely different light with widely accepted maybe untruths but magical and mythical stories about this great lady that has inspired so many other artists.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
- Gripping, must-see, unforgettable performance in a film too smart for its own good
It seems contradictory to praise a film for its star's performance while faulting it for overly busy, manipulative editing. In the hands of a clever filmmaker-editor-scriptwriter, most of us could come off looking reasonably competent. But as will be clear even to those unfamiliar with Edith Piaf's life or music, Marion Cotillard gives perhaps the most impressive performance of the new millennium in the role of "The Little Sparrow."
Somehow she manages to stay a cut ahead of Olivier Dahan's overly slick and clever movie with her mercurial changes--one moment mousey and woebegone, the next an out-of-control feral cat on the attack; a Tomboyish and modest international star one moment, a demanding and self-destructive diva the next; a weathered and withered little scarecrow one instant, a noble and courageous heroine the next. Her body and facial language are equally expressive--both telling us the story of Edith Piaf less through script than sheer rhetoric of character.
Nevertheless, I'd recommend the viewer read a brief account of Edith Piaf's life (Wickipedia is pretty good) before watching the film. Besides moving his camera all over the place and violating temporal-spatial conventions, writer-director Dahan tends to embed flashbacks within flashbacks, requiring the viewer to keep four or more time periods simultaneously in mind, and he frequently cuts to a character about whose identity (in some cases, "reality") we remain clueless until much later in the sequence. Better to get the plot-story business out of the way lest it distract from Cotillard's extraordinary accomplishment.
Unfortunately, there's another reason to do a quick prep on Piaf's life and career before viewing film. Like the vast majority of biopics about musicians (Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon immediately come to mind), the film fails not only to show us why Piaf's talent was so special but to showcase the songs in a manner that ensures they will be remembered and discovered by a new generation of listeners. The director appears to assume that, like "La Vie en Rose," every viewer will automatically respond to the strains of "Hymn l'Amour" and "Je Ne Regrette Rien."
Perhaps like a majority of the movie-going public, the filmmaker has little interest in, let alone knowledge about, Piaf's music. His Piaf, despite any testimony to the contrary, lives not solely for her art but for love. Numerous musicians have made sacrifices and paid prices similar to Piaf's--but it was for the music. Great artists have to be willing to die for their art, but that's not the message of this script. Fortunately, Cotillard's Piaf emerges as far more than another tragic heroine or sensationalized story about the fall of a star. But why are we so attracted to a figure who from the start is so undeniably unattractive? That's the question we continually ask ourselves, even as the resonance and magnetism of her character lead us ever closer to the only place we're likely to find an answer--her art.
The next move must be the spectator's....more info
For a Francophile, music and movie lover, this was a fascinating film. I love biographies as well, and enjoyed trying to understand the French. Admittedly, this represents a rather narrow range of interests, but this is definitely a worthwhile movie....more info
- Read All the one & two star reviews ...
You'll find the repeated complaint that this American release was cut and re-edited, and suffered as a result. I tend to believe those complaints, though I've only seen the American version. Again and again I had the feeling that something vital had been cut in order to produce a trendy hopscotch of life-moments. It might be taken, if the viewer so chooses, as the jumbled memories of the dying woman. Words are spoken, in fact, from the death bed, to that effect; Edith declares that she remembers only what she doesn't want to remember. The 'unprepared' revelation of her secret loss, in the last moments of the film, makes no sense as art or as biography. Likewise the death-or-murder that interrupts Edith's progress toward stardom is annoyingly vague in time and in narrative purpose. What's left, if you try to make orderly sense of the film, is a montage of griefs and losses, enough to drive anyone to drink and self-destruction. Is that what we're supposed to get from the film?
Marion Cotillard, taking full advantage of the fact that no one has any prior role-associations for her, does offer a virtuosic portrayal of a damaged personality. Whether that personality bears any resemblance to Edith Piaf isn't terribly important, unless you're a Piaf fan. You'll note that the reviewers here who announce their longtime adoration of Piaf tend to be extremely critical of Cotillard's representation. I'm never been a Piaf fan. In fact, I've always thought her singing was maudlin and exaggerated. I was quite ready to believe that the insufferable narcissist portrayed in the film was authentically the "Little Sparrow" at her normal ugliest. So she took a bad life and made the worst of it, despite her gifts. Why should we care?...more info
- A little hard to follow
I was very surprised to discover that this movie was completely in French with English subtitles. It would not have been so bad, except for the fact that they spoke so fast; therefore, I had to read very fast, and as a result, did not watch what was going on as much as I would have liked.
Amazon's service was great, as usual....more info
- Seriously underappreciated.
This film is easy to enjoy as a biographical/historical piece or a drama. The story of Edith Piaf details her deprived and sickly childhood, her life on the streets and discovery, the tragic loss of lover Marcel Cerdan and her, almost unbelievable, rapid physical aging. Marion Cotilliard, in the title role, is remarkable, and believable, she gives life to the wonderful music for which Miss Piaf was famous.
This is a film you will watch several times and still appreciate....more info
- In One Word: Wow!
I'm a guy who normally doesn't watch a lot of melodramas, but this film just stunned me....in every capacity. When it was over, all I could mutter was "wow!" It makes me want to know more about Piaf.
In addition to the great cinematography, the story was terrific, an extremely powerful one. I can't believe how mesmerizing Marion Cotillard was in the lead role of "Edith Piaf."
"Props" also for (1) Tetsuo Nagata's photography; (2) Cotillard's acting and her incredibly big-and-sad eyes which made Edith look unique; (3) the voice of Piaf. What a singer! Thankfully, we get to hear a lot of her songs in here; (4) Oliver Dahan's superb direction, and (5) the emotional story, which keeps you riveted to the screen for over two hours.
Kudos also to the makeup department, which did an incredible job of transforming Cotillard into someone who looked a lot older than her years,. and to the two little girls who played Edith as a 5-year-old (Marion Chevalier) and as a 10-year-old (Pauline Burlet). They, too, were terrific.
Yes, there are flaws and/or puzzling omissions. I was surprised the World War II years were totally bypassed and that Piaf losing her child was almost an afterthought near the end of the film. That should have been a bigger part of her story. However, people have to realize that one can't cover everything in a famous person's biography in just a 140-minute film. There are bound to be many things left out, and you have to accept that.
Nonetheless, I still was thoroughly entertained and thought it was great and wonderful film-making. ...more info
- Deserved the Oscar!
My daughter and I bought the film because we wanted to see it after the star won an Oscar even though it is a French film. We loved it--didn't move an inch from the sofa. All our friends say the same....more info
- Great performance, hugely flawed DVD
Marion Cotillard's brilliant performance is reason enough to watch this film. Yes, the film ran a bit long and the number of flashbacks made it tiresome, but Cotillard is unforgettable.
What is really annoying, though, is that the DVD producers chose to subtitle only the spoken dialog and not the lyrics of the songs. Perhaps it's Gallic arrogance that assumes that the entire world knows Piaf's songs and anyone who doesn't know them is beyond redemption anyway, but unless your command of the French language is very good (and mine isn't) you'll miss a good deal of the drama. Case in point: toward the end of the movie the aging Piaf chooses a specific song for a concert late in her career, "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien." It's a personal anthem which is both defiant and reflective which says I regret nothing and don't give a d*** about the past. Those lyrics become an apologia for Piaf's life and are absolutely appropriate for the final song of the film--why weren't those lyrics (and those of the other songs as well) subtitled? It's a particularly egregious and unforgivable omission in a movie about a passionate singer and the songs which reflected her turbulent life. ...more info
- Memorable and haunting!
Marion Cotillard's portrayal of Edith Piaff is one of the best personifications of a trouble star. I watched this story and could not even take a break. La Piaff's life was anything but normal, and listening to her songs is an unforgetable experience for anyone who liked her style. Highly recommended....more info
- "I regret nothing."
The story of France's most beloved singer begins in 1918 in a squalid section of Paris. Little Edith is abandoned by her parents and goes to live in her grandmother's brothel. There, she becomes blind from an eye disease and is cared for by the prostitutes. When she recovers her sight, she is forced to join her father as a street performer. Her remarkable singing voice is noticed by a night club manager and she begins her meteoric climb to success, but it is tempered by a series of personal tragedies.
The beautiful Marion Cotillard gives the performance of her life as Edith as she physically transforms several times and is utterly convincing as a scrappy street kid, a sickly drug addict, and finally, a prematurely-aged invalid. She rightly won the Best Actress Oscar for this challenging role.
The movie is in French with English subtitles, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all; in fact, hearing the beautiful French throughout made it better. Piaf's voice is heard on all the songs and it's a voice that reflects great pain and inner strength. This is an emotionally-draining film with outstanding acting. Highly recommended....more info
- La vie en rose
I believe you have to be interested in the life of Edith Piaf, and enjoy her music and style. The reality of her life is oftentimes very depressing, but supports her reason to be. Acting was suberb...enough for best actress Oscar. Music is quintessential " Little Sparrow"
Paris scenes are worthwhile on their own. I have given this to Francophiles for gifts....more info
- An Impressive Physical Performance in an Uninspired Film.
Olivier Dahan's biopic of French chanteuse Edith Piaf takes its American title, "La Vie en Rose", from one of Piaf's most popular songs. The film is called "La M?me" in France, meaning the kid or urchin, after Piaf's early stage name "La M?me Piaf". This film doesn't tell the story of Edith Piaf so much as it highlights major events in her life from the age of 3 until her death in 1963 at age 47, starting in New York in 1959 and skipping backward and forward in time until it has covered all of the episodes that have been deemed significant in no particular order. The result is that we come to recognize Piaf's personality but understand very little of her character.
Piaf was raised in poverty, first by a neglectful mother, then a neglectful grandmother, before her father placed her in the care of his mother, who managed a brothel. Then it was the circus, performing on the streets, and more meager living until Edith (Marion Cotillard) was discovered at age 20 by nightclub owner Louis Leplee (Gerard Depardieu), who set her on the road to stardom. An overbearing personality, constantly at odds with her manager Louis Barrier (Pascal Greggory), alcoholic, morphine-addicted, Piaf nevertheless became a singing sensation in much of the Western world.
"La Vie en Rose" focuses on events taken out of context, not on how Edith Piaf lived. Piaf's loss of those people whom she loved is a recurring theme, and I have the impression that these events in her life are supposed to explain who she was. I don't buy that. People are not the sum of the things that happen to them, and the episodic nature of this film does little to illuminate its subject. It's not a character study. It's a list. Edith Piaf was a miserable person who made everyone around her miserable. That's all I can gather from this film, and I don't have much faith in it, since she is represented so superficially and selectively.
In the end, "La Vie en Rose" fails to make Edith Piaf interesting. Marion Cotillard gives an impressive physical performance, aided by great make-up, of a strong, self-destructive personality at different stages of her life and different states of failing health. There is not much depth of emotion, but I blame the script for that, not Cotillard. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, "La Vie en Rose" is too long, and its inconsistent use of date stamps is frustrating. Most of the songs are lip-synched to Piaf's recording, so we get to hear her voice. There is not much substance here, but Cotillard as Piaf is as captivating on stage as the real thing. In French with subtitles.
The DVD (HBO Video 2007): The only bonus feature is "Stepping Into Character" (7 min), in which director Olivier Dahan and actress Marion Cotillard talk about researching Edith Piaf, preparing for the role, Cotillard's approach to the character, and the make-up. Subtitles are available for the bonus feature in English and Spanish. Subtitles available for the film in English, Spanish, French. ...more info
- piaf protrayed to perfection
The incredible performance of marion cotillard as Edith Piaf is incredible.
The whole cast is fantastic and the movie catches each time period
accurately and expertly. The only downside is that this movie jumps
back and forth and in between parts of the troubled edith piafs life.
It makes it confusing even though you still can understand what is happening if you follow the movie closely. The movie is in French with
english subtitles but that shouldn't detour anyone from watching the story of this great singer. In todays world we have a very sad
situation of many singers who stand in front of sampled music like hip hop that has no real substance, Piaf belonged to the
world of real divas but like so many entertainers drugs destroyed her.
This movie shows her whole life from her childhood growing up under
sordid circumstances to her rise to superstardom and eventual fall.
This movie is good but it may take you a while to deal with the jumping around , this is a technique that I don't think ever works very well in a biography; but the actors and the story overcome this to give us a decent movie.
- Non, je ne regrette rien
This movie is based on the life of the famous French singer Edith Piaf, and will drain you emotionally and physically (if you're not one for long periods of sitting still)
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. Little Edith has a hard knock life with her mother, and eventually is "rescued" by her father, and taken to live with her grandmother
2. Grandma's girls (and clients) call her "Madame"
3. She is taken under the wing of Titine, one of the girls, and learns about song and prayer
4. Dad returns and decides that he will be the stable influence in her life
5. ... so he raises her in a circus where he's a contortionist
6. Soon she's singing for her supper and hitting the bottle
7. ...and the needle
8. ... and continues to do so, stubborn as a mule, ruining her health
9. ... while singing her heart out
From the streets to the brothel, from the circus to the streets, from the streets to the clubs, through bad patches and bubbly heights, culminating in a passionate love affair and the inevitable decline, the viewer will love, hate and pity the temperamental singer, though not necessarily in that order.
Although not my type of music, and given that I normally shy away from long dramatic movies, there's no escaping the fact that Marion Cotillard gives an absolutely magnificent performance. The supporting actors, the settings and the cinematography make this a memorable watching experience.
This is not a movie to brighten your day, lift your spirits or make your heart soar, but if you asked me if I regret watching it, I'd have to say "Non, je ne regrette rien".
Amanda Richards, August 3, 2008
- LaVie Rose Extended Version
To be honest, I have not had the time to view this Movie, but I am sure it will be great, will watch it this weekend. A friend of mine watched it and she loved it. Diffently a 5 Star Video.
Chris Baker...more info
- La Vie en Rose
Great movie if you like Piaf. This particular DVD has English subtitles - some of them don't!...more info
- Marion Cotillard is Reason Enough to See La Vie en Rose.
La Vie en Rose (La M?me) is a 2007 French biopic about the troubled life of the Little Sparrow, French chanteuse ¨¦dith Piaf (1915-1963), starring Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard. Best known for her songs, "La vie en rose" (1946), "Hymne ¨¤ l'amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), and "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960), ¨¦dith Piaf's voice has been described as "the soul of Paris." Her death drew thousands of mourners into the streets of Paris, and more than 100,000 fans to her funeral. Because much of Piaf's life remains a mystery, creating a biopic of her life must have been no easy feat for director Olivier Dahan, which best explains the fractured and non-linear narrative of the film. While this film is far from definitive ¨¦dith Piaf, it succeeds as an "emotional journey" through her mysterious life. Evoked as a mosaic of flashbacks from ¨¦dith's memories, scenes often jump back and forth across decades, at times frantically.
As the film depicts, Piaf (played as an adult by Marion Cotillard) was born ¨¦dith Giovanna Gassion in Belleville, Paris, and later assumed the surname Piaf (a French colloquialism for "sparrow"). Her mother was an alcoholic street performer and her father a circus contortionist. After her parents abandoned her as an infant, Piaf was raised by her paternal grandmother in a brothel. She was blind from the age of three to seven as a result of keratitis. She recovered her eyesight after praying to Saint Th¨¦r¨¨se de Lisieux. At age 14, she began singing in public street performances all over France, often accompanied by her friend Simone Berteaut, "M?mone" (Sylvie Testud). She fell in love at age 16 with Louis Dupont, a delivery boy, and had a daughter at 17, Marcelle, who died of meningitis at age two. Piaf was discovered by nightclub owner and impresario Louis Lepl¨¦e (G¨¦rard Depardieu) while performing in the Pigalle area of Paris. Lepl¨¦e gave her the nickname "La M?me Piaf" (Little Sparrow), a black dress, and voice lessons. Soon she was France's most popular chanteuse, and then a worldwide sensation. Piaf married the love of her life, middleweight world champion boxer Marcel Cerdan (Jean-Pierre Martins), who died in a plane crash in October 1949, while flying from Paris to New York City to meet her. She then became addicted to morphine and alcohol, and died of liver cancer at age 47 on October 10, 1963. She is buried in P¨¨re Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, near the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Proust, and Ab¨¦lard and H¨¦lo?se. (I visit Piaf's grave whenever I'm in Paris, and most recently I listened to her singing on my iPod while I was sitting by her grave.)
Marion Cotillard won me over with her charismatic performance, and ¨¦dith Piaf would be pleased. Cotillard's wide-eyed performance is mesmerizing, and is perhaps the best reason to invest nearly 2 1/2 hours in La Vie En Rose. Cotillard triumphs at bringing ¨¦dith Piaf to life, and her lip syncs are flawless. She seems uncannily possessed by the ghost of subject. Her perfect, career-defining performance is simply impossible to forget, and makes it easy to forgive La Vie En Rose for its small imperfections as a film.
G. Merritt ...more info
- La Vie en Rose DVD
Wonderful movie. The movie has such an impact that it stays with you for days. Inspiring, sad and funny. I treasure this one. ...more info
- Marion Cotillard's performance here is her best
If Daniel Day Lewis There Will Be Blood (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) is Marlon Brando then Marion Cotillard is Greta Garbo Camille. M. C. Possessed performance reminds me of P.S. Hoffman in Capote "La Mome" reveals Edith Piaf strangely enough. It's put together peacemeal and in a see-saw back-and-forth, aggitatingly shuffled-way that must have taken mind-numbing months in the editing room. Much like undertaking that Editor Walter Murch must have undertaken in the once 170 minute (120min) Youth Without Youth. This movie uses some of the most beautiful caramel colored lights in cinematography. It brightens the lips and warms everything to a bedroom softness and is the vessel used to see her beautiful youth; hair in dark, french fashion, cut off above the shoulders, with dimpled cheeks and youthful smile. She ages back and forth, jumping playfully through the years of her life like some game gone tragic because we see her life, very early on in that recourse, that it does not indeed turn out like some fairy tale. Her hair creeps back revealing more of her prominant forehead, and her back becomes stooped over permenantly as if she carried invisible sacks of water. She becomes a terrible victim of addiction to Morphine and Alcohol and suffers the greatest loss, her amorous love Marcel. She worships Saint Theresa, only to be denied a funeral mass by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Paris. We see her again, but as a young girl, but with those familiar luminous green eyes. There is one thing that carries through all the times, ages, and transformations that grew to be a symbolism of love within her, and it was those gleamy, rare green eyes of hers. Because within her, was a Love not common. And because of that, it becomes an extraordinary meloncholy. ...more info
It is a beautiful story about a woman Edith Piaf, her singing, and her soul. The movie is told in flash backs and is shrouded with darkness, but her voice brings light to the audience. It follows her life and her misfortunes, but always returns to the gift that was given to her, the unbelievable singing. A must watch if not only for the voice. ...more info
- Outstanding Performance by Marion Cotillard!!! Fantastic!!
La vie en Rose shows a summary of the Edith Piaf's Life. Her struggle against all the circumstances she had to live.
The Marion Cotillard performance deserves the best comments.
I recommend this movie.
- no regrets!
i am always excited about a film about piaf.
edith piaf is unique among world singers, french musicians and women in popular music. except for maybe joplin and billie holiday, no one made her life as much like her songs as piaf did. even when she was addled out of her mind with pain and drugs, she could still conjure up the spirit of one of her sad, dramatic chansons and give them to an audience.
this film takes the viewer on a crack-the-whip ride through piaf's life and veers from her last days to childhood without warning. so, this is NOT the film to see with someone that has a very short attention span. it's beautifully detailed and lensed gorgeously and scored with all those wonderful songs.
and though there are some fine performances in it, the acting honors belong to it lead, marion cotillard. god knows how many hours this beauty had to endure in the makeup chair to come out looking like piaf at many stages of her adult life but even so, it could have been a bust.
but it's not. cotillard makes piaf live again through her eyes, her physical commitment to piaf's many stages of self-destruction, the spot-on mannerisms of piaf as she pours her heart out behind a microphone is a master work....more info
- Draggy and ultimately boring
I finally watched this after much anticipation. I was let down, but I shouldn't complain too hard.
Marion Cotillard is excellent, EXCELLENT as Edith Piaf. What disappointed me most was the draggy feeling throughout the movie. I realize this is a biopic, but I was expecting a movie on her life as the popular singer whose country roared to life for her. At her funeral, over 80,000 people were at the cemetery with 400,000 in the streets. I wanted to see how a small woman affected by booze and drugs was able to remain such a sweetheart for her countrymen.
I realize her life was tragic from her birth all the way to her death. I thought the movie did a great job emphasizing the tragedy as well as it did her popularity. However, it just went on and on and on and..... It was a big sigh of relief when the credits started to roll. ...more info
- Incredible portrayal!
La Vie en Rose is one of the best biographical films I've seen. Marion Cotillard's portrayal of Edith Piaf was amazing. I can remember hearing Edith Piaf recordings when I was a teenager and being entranced by her voice. The film brings out the emotion and passion behind that incredible voice. I highly recommend this film to those who love her music and want to know more about the person behind the voice....more info
This could have been a great movie. Great acting and great cinematography. Unfortunately, the excessive use of flashbacks makes this movie choppy and confusing. It was as though the editor had just discovered flashbacks and wanted to use as many as possible. The movie was so depressing and the editing so poor that I found myself wishing that Edith would hurry up and die so that the movie would be over and I wouldn't have to see another flashback....more info
- So Good, I Watched It Twice
I'm quickly becoming a lover of French cinema and I really enjoyed films such as 1992's "Indochine" and 2002's Oscar darling "Amelie". "La M?me" ("La Vie En Rose" its US title) is another proud example of my hankering to hear a romantic language spoken amidst spectacular drama and the promised prize of a stupendous performance from Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard delivers - her role as the title character is one of the most affecting and heartbreaking I've seen in a long while.
The film traces revered French chanteuse Edith Piaf's life from her impoverished childhood all the way to her death in 1963 at the age of 47. Moving consistently between past and present, the film charts her ascendance from the street to the stage, her many loves and losses and her crippling dependence on alcohol and morphine, the former of which contributed to the liver cancer that caused her premature death. Piaf was a bleeding heart in the industry though she tried hard to conceal it in the beginning. Instead, her passion and grief would show itself through her balladry, her chagrin beautifully channeled in songs such as the more notable "La Vie en Rose", "Hymne ¨¤ l'amour" and "Non, je ne regrette rien".
"La M?me" is rich in great performances from its actors, particularly that of Marion Cotillard. In the DVD's featurette, Cotillard says her goal in portraying Piaf was not to do an exact imitation, rather to try and understand her ultimate motivation, the depth of Piaf's heart and soul. It is for this reason that Cotillard manages to disarm the viewer with a portrayal of a woman who used brass to cover her vulnerability and fear, a woman who time and again had her heart broken but managed to stand tall despite it all and pour her heartache into song for her adoring fans. Excellent supporting players are Sylvie Testus as Piaf's close friend M?mone, Marc Barb¨¦ as the strict Raymond Asso and Emmanuelle Seigner as the maternal Titine.
Another strong point of the film is its incredible transformation of the comely Cotillard into the striking Piaf. A five-hour session in the makeup chair with makeup artist Didier Lavergne (who won an Oscar with Jan Archibald for his ingenious work on the film) metamorphosed Cotillard's angelic face into Piaf's distinguished visage, her scenes in the latter stages of ¨¦dith's life requiring her to shave her hairline back and shave her eyebrows off to pencil them in. The scenes of her as a woman aged well beyond her years (at only 44, she looked to be in her 70's) are breathtaking, Lavergne's fantastic work and Dahan's close-ups revealing nothing but the most convincing age-progression makeup ever seen on film.
As can be expected, the film is richly layered with Piaf's resonant vocals and confirms the singer's power to move her audience when renowned film actress Marlene Dietrich approaches her after a performance and says wistfully:
"I haven't been to Paris for ages. But this evening, when you were singing, Edith, I was there, in the streets, beneath its sky. Your voice is the soul of Paris. You took me on a journey. You made me cry."
Bottom line: The French - and ONLY the French - could've attempted a story on the magnificent drama of ¨¦dith Piaf's life, a woman who was idolized in her native country and whose puissant voice is forever synonymous with Parisian culture. A gem in every way, even a person who hates subtitles must look past it for a rare and perfect portrayal by Cotillard, a performance every bit worthy of her Oscar win. Like Piaf's own life, "La M?me" is extraordinary.
My Mother often played the music of Edith Piaf as I was growing up. She talked about her tragic life and how she searched for, and did not find happiness. Watching this movie with my 86 year old Mom on Mother's day was extremely enjoyable and meaningful. The acting was first rate and we were enthralled throughout the whole movie....Amazing!
Enjoy! Nicole...more info
- "The Best Movie of it's type in a generation"
Marion Cotillard is magnificent in this wonderful depiction of Edith Piaf. This movie will have you mesmerized and enchanted. "Bravo"
If this story doesn't move you, nothing will. It is impossible to be indifferent to this film. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll walk away thanking Edith Piaf for sharing her life story and her talent with the world....more info
- Touching, moving and fabulous!
La vie en Rose is a classic.
Unbelievable performance from Marion Cotillard.
Interesting cinematography and suspense building cadence.
Sometime hard to follow with its time changes but worth every minute. ...more info
- 5 stars is not enough for this story of the legendary Piaf
The story of the legend chanteuse Edith Piaf. Very well done, emotionally satisfying, with a great renditions of her well loved songs, superbly played by Marion Cotillard....more info
- 2.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
Cotillard is fantastic and the makeup is exceptional (so the Oscars were deserved I guess) but the rest of La Vie En Rose leaves a lot to be desired: it's told out of sequence for no reason I can think of aside from a need to be different, which just ends up confusing the audience, secondary characters are discarded as the movie sees fit, and it clocks in at a looooong 149 minutes....more info
- An Incredible Life, An Incredible Film
I knew Edith Piaf was a famous French singer, but I had never heard her sing except briefly from a friend's cd. As a lover of all things French, and after seeing Marion Cotillard win the Academy Award for her performance as Edith Piaf, I placed this movie on my Wish List and received it as a gift.
If ever anyone deserved an Academy Award it is Marion Cotillard! This beautiful young French woman played Miss Piaf through all ages and stages of infirmity to perfection. She "became" Edith Piaf, which gave life to the film. Because of Marion Cotillard this movie haunts me still.
At times I had to strain a little to see, as many of the scenes are dark; however, the darkness parallels Edith's life. The story moves back and forth through time, and sometimes details are not provided, which makes it difficult to follow at times. None of this was especially problematic to me, since the movie is well worth seeing. Due to her poor health throughout her life, and the automobile accidents she survived, Edith suffered from severe and crippling arthritis. The scenes where Miss Piaf, at 4 ft. 8 inches, shuffles on stage in severe pain because of her great drive to sing, were highly inspirational to ones such as myself who also suffer from the disease. The strength and purity of Miss Piaf's singing throughout this film, along with the emotionality of her delivery, is entirely unique and exceptional! After viewing the movie I immediately purchased two of her cd's, which I thoroughly enjoy, and treasure.
I would suggest that if you plan to see this film you search the Internet beforehand and read a few reputable biographies of Miss Piaf to fill in any gray areas. I also suggest that you watch the bonus features on the disc. It was fascinating to see the transformation of this lovely actress into the varied ages and physical qualities of her unique character. If nothing else impresses you about this very powerful movie, I guarantee Ms. Cotillard's performance will!
- Great singing, not so interesting a character
The actress' performance was great, Depardieu stole all his scenes as usual, but I really did not find Piaf's life all that interesting or her very sympathetique in the end. These biopics are getting as tedious as reality TV....more info
- La Vie en Rose
This is a well made, truly excellent rendition of Edith Piaf's life. It tells the story of her life though a series of flashbacks. It takes us from her humble birth, though the difficult years of her childhood and teen years. This movie helps us better understand the kind of events that helped shape her personality as well as her complexes. Throughout the film we hear her beautiful music which reflects her deep desire to be loved and her unwavering sense of hope. One comes away from the film with sadness for the difficulties she endured thoughout her life but with a great respect for her ability to rise above her problems and create beautiful music. ...more info
- McCain dazzlement
My wife and I like the singing of Edith Piaf. When the DVD of a movie about Ms. Piaf came available, we bought it.
As we watched the performance, we sat in our chairs with our mouth agape. The acting is so superb as to whisk you back to Paris of the '30's with a young woman sining in the streets and dazzling her audiences.
Marion Cotillard won an Academy Award for this part and I know why. She is more than spectacular....more info
- Memories of the past
Excelent purchase. Academy award winner. a Great film of a great lady whom I still reveere today....more info
- Shameless scenery-chewing destroys portrait of Piaf
This biopic of chanteuse and French national hero Edith Piaf begins well, charting an impoverished childhood of temporary blindness and discolation, with a quiet dignity brought by the actress that portrays Edith as a child.
Then flash-forward to Piaf's adulthood, and things quickly go downhill.
Except for a moving scene where Marie Cotillard as Piaf sings La Marseillese to the impoverished passerbys of Paris, the bulk of her performance turns into a non-stop, self-pitying, raving trainwreck that makes Jack Nicholson's tirades look like a study in subtlety and reserve. Every personal transaction is so full of desperate mugging and neediness, that by the time an actual tragedy strikes Piaf with the death of a loved one, your emotional capital is already so exhausted by Cotillard's shameless straining that you could really care less how she feels -just make her stop screaming, "MARCEL!! MARCEL!!!" It's the equivalent of a performance grabbing your arm and twisting it behind your back until you cry, "PLEASE, I'LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, JUST STOP!!!"
There is little biographical evidence to suggest the actal Piaf was as disastrous a personality as portrayed here; it just smells of an actress seeing her big shot at the Oscar with over-the-top histrionics the Academy loves, and of course being rewarded for such a travesty. If you like Piaf's music, just get a greatest hits CD, and skip this exploitative mess at all costs....more info
Incredible performance, moving and tragic story. I now understand why Piaf's voice was so wonderful, sad, haunting, but proud.
I will watch over and over again....more info
- Marion the Great
This is a difficult, uneven, exhausting 140-minute film but well worth the effort. I came out of it with a shaken soul and feeling like an alcoholic drug addict. Some of the flashback sequences are confusing (I don't think they intended to make a full biography) and you really need to watch it twice even if, like me, you speak fluent French, to fully grasp all the details.
Marion Cotillard's portrayal of Edith Piaf is nothing short of astonishing, from the wide-eyed kid at the film's beginning to the prematurely aged, trembling, shrunken human ruin who is visited by ghosts on the last night of her life. This is unforgettable, superlative acting, one of the truly great Best Actress Oscar winners and on a par with Vivien Leigh in GONE WITH THE WIND, Joanne Woodward in THE THREE FACES OF EVE, Meryl Streep in SOPHIE'S CHOICE and, in more recent performing memory, Charlize Theron in MONSTER.
PS 1: After Piaf, can Cotillard now have a subsequent film career?
PS 2: Three totally undeserved, wasted "flash in the pan" recent Best Actress Oscars:
1997 Helen Hunt in AS GOOD AS IT GETS (Judi Dench should have won for MRS BROWN).
1998 Gwyneth Paltrow in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (Cate Blanchett should have won for ELIZABETH).
2005 Reese Witherspoon in WALK THE LINE (Felicity Huffman should have won for TRANSAMERICA).
PS 3: Two very good performances which didn't even get nominations:
1988 Shirley MacLaine in MADAME SOUSATZKA (in my opinion her finest screen role).
1996 Madonna in EVITA.
- First-Rate Musical Biopic
Prior to seeing "La Vie En Rose" my only frame of reference of Edith Piaf was in a scene in "Saving Private Ryan" where the soldiers in repose were playing a record of hers. Musical biograghy is a tricky proposition that if done improperly can border on the cliched. Director Olivier Dahan's film has an interesting structure. Though told in mostly linear fashion he ingeniously uses jumps in time to comment on the action. What I also liked about this disc is it eschewed subtitles for the songs. Even if you don't know a lick of French you don't need a translation to feel the power of the songs. Marion Cotillard deservedly won an Oscar for her portrait of a woman who despite personal trials and tribulations held her head high and perservered through her music. Cotillard is masterful in her transformation from a young girl to a middle-aged woman who, through debilitating infirmity, has to trudge through life yet still maintain her dignity. The film's make-up people won an Oscar and deservedly so. That said, I think Cotillard could have suggested the required physical transformations of Piaf without the use of prosthetics. This is a great film and one of the best of 2007. ...more info
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