Amazing acting, great design and directing.
Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) is bounced from place to place after her father, Louis Gassion (Jean-Paul Rouve) finds her half to dead under her alcoholic mother’s (Clotilde Courau) care. Being a circus performer and constantly on the move, he brings her to his mother who owns a brothel. There Edith is taken care of by the ladies who work there, and especially Titine (Emmanuelle Seigner). However, her father comes back for her and she is forced to travel with him. As she grows up, she starts singing on the streets with her friend Momone (Sylvie Testud) and is discovered by Louis Leplee (Gerard Depardieu) who gives her that stepping stone into the music industry. Never a boring moment in her life, Piaf loves to party and eventually falls in love with Marcel (Jean-Pierre Martins), a boxer she can never really have. Directed by Olivier Dahan.
The film was absolutely phenomenal. I was not much aware of Piaf’s life story and had only heard the few really popular songs from her (La Vie En Rose/ Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien) and so when I watched the trailer for this I was very excited. Although I am unsure of the accuracy of the film’s depiction of Piaf’s life, it was very convincing- Olivier Dahan does a fantastic job.
Cotillard does an incredible portrayal of Piaf, so much so that I did not even recognize her. Granted I have only seen her once or twice in a film (Inception being one of them) but the way she totally immersed herself into Piaf’s character is just so amazingly well done. She definitely deserved that Oscar for best performance. Supporting actresses Testud and Seigner were also amazing in their characters and really added a realistic feel to the film. Basically all actors and actresses in this film helped to create its phenomenal experience of Piaf’s life. Shout out to Jil Aigrot, who lent her voice as Piaf’s singing voice -exquisite.
The story is great though the non-linear narrative does jump around quite a bit. However, after investing more time in the film it soon becomes clear as to which point in time of Piaf’s life the scenes are showing. There are also little date indexes which would appear on screen and those help, but for the most part I came to find that the chronology of the film cleared up with repetitive scenes that seem to belong to the same time period. The story does a great job at covering pretty much all bases of Piaf’s life, from childhood to old age, and the drama in between is exciting, inspiring, and heartbreaking all at once.
Another Oscar winning element for this film is its make-up. As mentioned, the film jumps around in time, and the make-up on Cotillard to portray Piaf is truly incredible. Especially in the depiction of Piaf’s middle adulthood (30-40s) the combination of Cotillard’s phenomenal acting and make-up really brought Piaf’s character alive. Oh, the wonders of make-up.
In addition, everything in the mise-en-scene helped to emphasize the atmosphere of the setting. With the help of editing and the soundtrack, different parts of Paris transcend through the screen. I fell in love with the aesthetics of the film, and felt emotionally attached to the characters. A really fantastic portrayal of a music icon. My only criticism would be that the film is quite long, and numerous times near the ending I thought it was going to end but it didn’t. Not that I wanted it to end, but it just gave off that feeling.
PROS: Acting, story, make-up, soundtrack, mise-en-scene
CONS: A little long
I give this a 10/10!
Have you seen La Mome (also known as La Vie En Rose?) Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!