À cœur joie 7.0
‘À cœur joie’ is yet another drab, run-of-the-mill drama about infidelity.
Well, okay… I suppose that one would usually describe it as a romantic drama. I just can’t help but get caught up in the fact that the burgeoning relationship exists in the shadows of another one. I find infidelity so unnecessary (to me, either you’re in or out of a relationship and either you have an open or exclusive relationship – there’s no excuse for going behind someone’s back) that this kind of thing always claws at me.
Ever since I became a fan of Woody Allen film, I’ve become super sensitive to the on-screen portrayal of infidelity. His films almost always revolve around infidelity, which would drive me mad if his material wasn’t so darned rich. Still, after seeing all his films countless times, I couldn’t help but begin to focus on that part of the equation. I couldn’t help wonder what the heck was going on: it’s always portrayed so casually, run-of-the-mill.
What I find frustrating is that there’s always collateral damage, and the new relationships always seem to hold a power on the main character to such a degree that hurting the other partner (and children/family/friends) appears inevitable. It’s as though it’s some magical, entrancing thing that cannot be avoided and must run its course. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!
In ‘À cœur joie’, I found Bardot’s character selfish and extremely inconsiderate of her partner. While he tried to be understanding of the fact that she might be attracted to someone else and offered her some room to breathe, she only thought of herself and was careless with his heart – even after he told her that he would be hurt if she cheated on him. I found it difficult to empathize with her because of this.
While I was left unmoved by the rest of her performance, I found Bardot quite good at doing playful scenes. There were a number of moments where her character was spontaneous, laughing, enjoying life, and I thought that Bardot did this very well, naturally, effortlessly. Unfortunately, I found everything else was rather bland, passionless. I certainly couldn’t feel the heat between the two lovers.
The only truly notable thing in this film is the general outlook about relationships that is conveyed. For one, there’s the husband’s understanding attitude, which isn’t a standard mode whatsoever. But, then there’s the fact that it dares to ask why it’s not possible to be three people in a relationship – as opposed to the traditional two. It doesn’t delve into it deeply, but it’s enough to give food for thought.
The film is also memorable for featuring some of the least sexy kissing scenes in recent memory. You know how two magnets can repulse each other? Well, watching this couple kiss reminded me of that – not because they were repulsive, but because they seemed to be floating away from each other violently, as though they were unable to lock lips, but were intent on trying. It was a bit strange to watch. Perhaps the director thought that this looked passionate?
There is, however, a sensual (but not erotic) scene at the end which makes up for it. Perhaps the contrast made this one seem more appealing to me than it actually should be, but I rather enjoyed its style. And I also loved the ending, which left everything open-ended, unresolved, which no real conclusion for the protagonist; it leaves us with a few questions, and I suspect the point was to generate discussion. I like that.
So, as strange as it might seem, the thing I liked the most in this film is the last part of the film – not because it was “finally” over, because I was glad to be done with this “torture”, but because it gave me a few more remarkable moments than the rest of it did. All in all, though, it’s a pretty unremarkable film – worth seeing once if one likes this sort of thing, but hardly worth a repeat viewing.