Cinema Signal:

Entre Nous:
A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl

. "Happily Ever After" (aka, "Ils se marierent et eurent beaucoup d'enfants")

Yvan Attal, as the writer director of this French meander about marriage, does one thing right and one wrong. Putting Charlotte Gainsbourg's fresh vitality on screen is a good thing, indeed. The tortuous marriage that he creates for her, however, is some kind of blatant misfire.

To characterize it, an early sequence shows a game they play. Gabrielle (Gainsbourg) has a drink at a bar. A man puts moves on her. She dresses the poor guy down by hammering him about what he wants and the futility of the enterprise, spicing up her harangue with her phone number. Another man steps up to the bar, invites her for a drink and winds up plucking her from the bar.

This guy turns out to be Vincent (Yvan Attal), her husband. They act as though hormones are pulsing through their bodies as they drive home, he unable to stop kissing and fondling, she barely able to put her key in the door. O'boy, this is going to be a sex scene out of the Kamasutra. They open the door, pay off their babysitter and go about their routine matters. The passion has not only dissipated, it's less than a memory. We been robbed! To say "unrealized" is to characterize the movie as a whole.

Vincent hangs with a couple of fortiesh pals. Each has his problems. George (Alain Chabat) is in a marathon argument with his gorgeous wife Nathalie (Emmanuelle Seigner), making him envious of men unshackled by demanding, feminist wives. He'd be especially envious of Fred (Alain Cohen), still single, still totally liberated and straight and taking every advantage of it-- if he could only understand Fred's sex appeal. We, the onlookers, have the same problem.

The male bond is sustained by adolescent talk of sex, freedom and conquest. Perhaps it's a French thing, but it's inane and utterly devoid of dramatic challenge, even if Vincent is being unfaithful. The emptiness that Gabrielle is feeling, however, generated more by the actress' performance skills than the content of her torpid script, can't quite make emotional tension out of it. While this mother's love of her child is total, the marriage is empty.

One day she's shopping for music at a Virgin Megastore. While listening to a track at a sampling station, a man (uncredited Johnny Depp) steps up and puts on headphones. As they listen together their eyes meet, but the meaning of it seems to be one-sided. She's aroused enough to chase after him but he seems merely friendly. To so totally reject a lady with Gainsborough's looks might mean he's very happy at home. Or, that auteur Attal simply doesn't want to venture too far from the comforts of his vague narrative.

The level at which it can be appreciated is in its ordinary, slyly amusing quality. But, for most of us (the French included), amusement isn't a substitute for the dramatic potential of marital mismatch or dissatisfaction. The main reason to see it is to witness a fine lady making the most of what she's been given to play.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  


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Site rating: 8

i was going to buy the movie since johnny depp is in it but now I will skip it. Thank you.

                                                           ~~ Janet 
[Ed. note: His cameo is fun for a Depp fan, but it's not enough to rescue the film.]

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                                                           ~~ yasar 

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Charlotte Gainsborough and Yvan Attal
A playful fight in the kitchen instead of love in the bedroom

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