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4.2 out of 5 stars24
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 February 2011
Jean-Claude (Patrick Chesnais) is a sad, grey man, unhappy in his work and unhappy in love. (He's divorced.) He shares his office with his son who desperately wants to leave the business but instead retreats to a home packed with plants. His PA confesses that she has so messed up her life that all she has is her dog.

Ordered by his doctor to take up a physical activity, Jean-Claude joins a tango class where he falls for Francoise (Anne Consigny). Francoise falls for him, too, despite her impending marriage to her loser would-be author boyfriend (Lionel Abelanski).

Jean-Claude and Francoise seem to be on a tentative path to some kind of happiness when Jean-Claude learns that Francoise is engaged. Shocked and hurt, he retreats deeper into his shell. Then the death of his father (Georges Wilson) - a pathetic old man whose inability to express love for anyone has left him isolated and bitter - forces Jean-Claude to confront the emptiness of his own life. He returns to the tango class, takes Francoise in his arms and dances with her.

That's it. Yet this tale of misery and emptiness is one of the most feel-good movies I've seen in a long while. 'Here,' it says, 'your life can be sad and empty but you can change it by allowing the possibility of the redemptive quality of love.' There's no sex, no grand passion - all that is offered is that two people might dance together. And that's enough.

And it's funny. Laugh out loud funny. Like the moment when Jean-Claude plucks up the courage to buy Francoise a perfume and spends ages with a sales assistant choosing the right one, only to be told that his choice is called 'Intense Passion.' 'Would you have the same scent but with a different name?' he asks.

It is a film in which the quality of the silences and the tiniest changes of expression say more than a thousand lines. The most important moments have no dialogue and, when people do speak, they use words banally to hide their feelings. Sat in his car in the pouring rain, Jean-Claude and Francoise move toward their first (and only) kiss via a conversation about the relative merits of French and foreign cars. Patrick Chesnais's brooding, craggy gloom and Anne Consigny's extraordinarily mobile face with its bewitching half-smile are ideally suited to this sort of thing and the other characters, too, are well cast, finding something to humanise even the most unsympathetic of them.

Given the importance of tango to the film, it is a shame that the only professional tango shown is, at best, mediocre. Perhaps that's deliberate because it is the technically inept but passionately committed tangos of the students in the tango class that best capture the soul of the dance. Still, it's unfortunate that when the school make a trip to the theatre to see a performance, it is quite so poor.

Overall, though, this is French cinema at its best: thoughtful and intelligent but unpretentious and, in the end, joyous. The sub-titling is good enough to carry the dialogue (though a smattering of French will make it more fun). This is definitely a film worth braving the foreign-language movie ghetto for.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2007
Patrick Chesnais plays Jean-Claude, a bailif who's in his mid 50s. He's got an annoying father that complains about everything, and nothing else much. He goes around town warning people they haven't got long to pay for their rent - and goes back to the office to fill out endless paperwork.

His mind is fixated on the tango school next door, and dreams of dancing the tango with women. So one day he goes there, and he finds a friend from the days he used to baby sit. Francoise (Anne Consigny - 36 (the film, not her age)) has got marriage plans with her new fiancé, but she's confused and starts having a crush on Jean-Claude.

The film follows their ups and downs, well mainly Jean-Claude's - and how he teaches his aprentice to go and grow flowers instead of doing the mundane job of working for the bailif's office.

This film is beautiful, the dancing is well captured and you get the feeling of intimacy that you'd feel while doing the tango with a beautiful young woman. The camera angles are subline and it's just stylishly done, like a lot of French movies, it's got such passion and psychology, and lets you make up your own mind about things. Both the lead roles are performed flawlessly, and the scenerio is borderline fantasy with moments of realism. The music is great, mainly tango, but works well with the other parts of the film.

Definately worth renting, as the extras are not much cop, two interviews, a trailer and their filmographies - but that's all you really need. Artificial Eye have done a good job of the transfer, it's colours are great and the audio is well balanced, though they could have done with putting more dynamics at times. A louder speech track would have been better, but I did watch this in Dolby 2.0 rather than the 5.1.

Well worth watching if you like indie films.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2008
"Not Here To Be Loved" is an engaging love story about a lonely, sad looking 50 year old man,Jean Claude,who meets a much younger woman,Francoise,at tango lessons.Jean Claude is a bailiff by profession and his dreams of a romantic friendship are hampered by Francoise's engagement to a writer.Will he find happiness with her or will he be condemned to continued isolation broken only by weekend visits to his ungrateful, grumpy father in his nursing home ? This French film is well acted and it's characters are well rounded and easy to empathise with."Not Here To Be Loved" is gently paced and it is a likeable film.
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on 7 June 2014
I GUESS THIS TYPE OF FILMS ARE MADE FOR PEOPLE WITH SOME MATURE EXPERIENCES IN LIFE.
AN OLDER MAN, HEARTLESS IN HIS JOB TO WARN TENANTS ABOUT PAYING THE RENT OF THEIR APARTMENTS, LIVES A LONESOME LIFE.
HE DECIDES TO LEARN TANGO, AND WHEN DOING THAT, HE MEETS A YOUNGER MARRIED WOMAN,AND THEY START DANCING TOGETHER.
THE DANCE LESSONS BECOME SORT OF A ESCAPE FROM THEIR DAILY ROLES, AND THE MAN BECOMES MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT OF
HER BODY CONTACT AND COMPANY. HE STARTS GETTING SOFTER AS A PERSON, AND GET PROBLEMS GOING BACK TO LONELINESS
AND HIS WORK. THIS IS WHAT SOME FRENCH FILMMAKERS ARE REAL GOOD AT. THEY CAN SLOWLY TEAR YOUR MIND APART WHILE YOU
SIT THERE HOPING IT WILL END WELL WITHOUT BROKEN HEARTS.
THIS IS DEFINITELY SUCH A FILM.
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on 20 October 2014
This is a tremendously moving and beautifully directed film where the characters say so little but show so much. Only the French could make a film like this. It is human, loving, surprising, and shows a variety of human relationships with all their foibles. The ending, like all great films, leaves you wanting more.
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on 10 June 2009
Love tango, although I still haven't got as far as dancing it yet!!! I will though. For lovers of tango or a quiet, but entrancing French film...this is excellent. Highly recommended.
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on 27 September 2010
I've just watched this for the first time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The acting is wonderful, with great depth. Watching the interviews with the director, firstly, then the two leads, gave an insight into the dedication and art which went into the making of a wise and moving film. I was prompted to look for other films by Brize, but this is the only one here on Amazon unfortunately.
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on 24 August 2014
A beautiful film for avid tango lovers and despairing romantics. A slow-burner, but the underlying smouldering tension makes the heart race a little, like the close embrace of your partner when you're 'in the moment'. Brilliant performance and some nice tango scenes.
This film was recommended by some web-site or other and it did not disappoint. Neither did the vendor! Fast delivery, well packaged and perfect condition. Bonus points to them! When your expectations are already heightened, it is a pleasure when they are not dashed by poor service.
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on 25 May 2016
French filmmaking at it's best. First-rate acting by all. Wonderful stuff.

I have purchased 'Not Here To Be Loved' so many times, I've lost count.

I like giving copies to friends when it's appropriate. I am very particular these days in what films I watch. I've watched this film many times and can't find fault any part of it.
​ The one thing I would like to know is what happens to the two main characters...do they, or don't they...??
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on 11 January 2014
A love story of great maturity, in every sense. Beautifully told, yet determinedly realistic, it exudes the simple subtlety of which only French cinema seems capable. The central performance by Patrick Chesnais is especially good: the lines on his face tell us far more than his sparse lines of dialogue.
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