Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars199
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Don't plan to see this film and then go out for a lively night on the town. You will be so spent after the one hundred forty-one minutes of this gut-wrenching film that when the lights come on at the end, you'll need a minute to figure out where you are, and then additional downtime to process all you've seen. Days later, you'll still be thinking about this slice of life--and Piaf.

Piaf's story is well known to her long-time fans--brought up in a brothel, wrested from the only life she knew by her father so they could join the circus, her teen years on the streets, her "rescue" by a crime figure who gave her the start to her career, and, ultimately, her international success and final illness. She was always frail, sickly, malnourished, and wildly temperamental. She was often on drugs or alcohol, and she was always in search of true love (not finding it till late in her life). All this is depicted here with its horrors and its rare moments of tenderness, the cinematography (Tetsuo Nagata) so brilliant that the realistic, dark settings invite the reader's emotional entry into them and exploration of them.

Marion Cotillard becomes Piaf, a physical likeness that is uncanny in its realism (one wonders if she can ever play another part without conjuring up Piaf's image), and her emotional connection to Piaf's music is total. Her song performances are absolutely flawless, as are her gestures, and the only clue that she is lip-synching is the unmistakable Piaf voice that emerges from her mouth. Louis Leplee (Gerard Depardieu), the nightclub owner whose murder by organized crime draws Edith in for questioning, shows the genuine care he has for Edith and the tough face of a man who has seen and done it all.

Marcel Cerdan, the heavyweight boxer who captures her heart (Jean-Pierre Martins) gives her something to live for, besides her music--at least for a while--and it is genuinely affecting here to see how earthy and unaffected he is in her presence. The supporting actors, all French, are outstanding, and few viewers will forget Emmanuelle Seigner, playing prostitute Titine, who cared for Edith as a child.

The film belongs to Cotillard, however, and all aspects of the film, from the brilliant writing of Olivier Dahan (who also directed) and Isabelle Sobelman, to film editing (especially the lip-synching to Piaf's songs), and the sets, costuming, and makeup, are designed to enhance her performance. The film follows no chronology, jumping from her childhood to her last years and then to some of the high points of her career, creating an impressionistic film of some of the signal moments in her life. It is difficult to imagine any biopic that will ever come close to this one in its power, but then, again, it's difficult to imagine any singer who will ever capture the world's imagination in quite the way that Piaf did. Mary Whipple
22 comments|118 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 20 November 2007
Let's start with the cliche. This one happens to be true, so believe it: Marion Cotillard is every bit as awesome as you have already heard - she doesn't act Piaf, she IS Piaf!! Not only that, but she captures and bottles the singer through her formative years as an unknown street singer forking out protection money to a pimp, through her arrogant stardom and many tragedies, to sad and embittered old age (a relative concept since Piaf died before her 50th birthday with an abused body and the appearance of a 95-year old.) If Cotillard does not win Best Actress Oscar by a country mile, it will be proof positive of the unreasonable prejudice against foreign language films by the Hollywood establishment - there has not been a finer display of acting these past 30 years.

As for the film, it has its highs. In particular, the ambiance of Piaf's early years in Normandy and Paris have been captured to a tee. There are also fine cameo moments, such as Piaf's relationship with Marcel Cerdan and the shocking footage of her alcoholism and drug abuse. But a number of scenes may leave the audience slightly baffled, other than adding padding!

The wayward timeshifts in La Vie En Rose are a trifle bizarre, though some make sense - using the imagery of Milord to pinpoint her life as a young girl in a brothel run by her cold-hearted madame of a grandmother. The script also uses the splintered brain of the dying singer to pick out a kaleidoscope of images from her past. Inevitably, a big screen biopic omits many critical moments and rewrites history for dramatic effect, but here the emphasis is strongly on building up a portfolio of evidence for the woman and the hows and whys within her background. In many cases this works well, but the difficulty comes in that there is no unifying theme on which to hang the pegs.

My advice is just to take in what you see and piece it together - the results are well worthwhile! As a character study, this is as rounded and complete as any you will find. La Vie En Rose pulls no punches and portrays its subject warts and all. Piaf was not always a likeable personality but her voice dripped with the pain and emotion. Art imitating life? Maybe....
33 comments|119 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 November 2007
"La vie en rose" (2007) is a beautiful biographical film about Edith Piaf, directed by Olivier Dahan. Piaf is an iconic French singer who turned into a symbol of her country, and remains one many decades after her death.

If you are one of Piaf's fans, I'm certain that you will like this movie, because it depicts strikingly several moments of her tragic and turbulent life. It is impossible to denny that Marion Cotillard was the right choice to play the main character, as she is simply splendid as Edith Piaf, so good in fact that she tends to make us forget that Piaf is not longer alive.

In case you don't have the faintest idea of who Edith Piaf was, don't worry, this movie is an excellent starting point to learn about her. Of course, no film can be totally objective, but by the end of "La vie en rose" you will know some details about Piaf's life, and will have heard some of her wonderful songs.

All in all, I believe that this is a film that is powerful and worth watching, despite the fact that it is rather gut-wrenching sometimes. Recommended...

Belen Alcat

PS: The songs you will hear in this film are sang by Edith Piaf (Cotillard does lip-synching). My favourite song is "Je ne regrette rien"...
0Comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 November 2007
Of the three major films made about Edith Piaf, this is by far the best. There are simply not enough superlatives in the book to describe it. I would defy anyone to to watch this and not shed tears. There are flaws, of course. The director in his wisdom omits Piaf's heroism duting World War II, and the key men in Piaf's life are for some reason overlooked: Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Jaubert, Cocteau, and even second husband Theo Sarapo only gets a cursory mention. The magic of the film is the voice--thankfully we hear the real Piaf--and Mme Cotillard, who more than portrays Piaf, she BECOMES her. We also hear Piaf's idol, Damia! The scenes covering Piaf's last days in Cannes are truly heartbreaking. And so I give a word of warning to other producers. Don't even THINK of making another Piaf biopic, for this one will NEVER be bettered!
David Bret's "Piaf, A Passionate Life", is also available at Amazon
22 comments|56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 March 2008
The pluses:
Marion Cotillard - a sensational performance as the grown-up Piaf. The Oscar was entirely deserved.
Manon Chevallier & Pauline Burlet as Piaf as a child. I was amazed at how good these kids were. Absolutely incredible.
Indeed, the whole ensemble were very good.
The atmosphere and period settings of France from WW1 to the early sixties.

The minuses:
Not enough music - I could have done with a little more of Piaf's ravishing voice.
The timeshifts - it hopped around all over the place and by the time I got my bearings in one scene I was having to readjust for the next scene. Not sure it was necessary to hop about. Indeed think it may have been better (with one or two exceptions) to have had a more linear approach.

Well worth watching. Definitely a keeper - will watch this again every now and then.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 January 2008
There is no other word than "Superb" for this film. I agree, there was further details about Piaf's life that could have been included, but with such a life as Piaf lead, it would have been impossible to cover everything. Even the hardest of heart will, as I was, reduced to tears for a Lady that was obviously a woman who knew true love, poverty, hard work and sheer determination. Perhaps to feel we need to suffer a little? Wonderful - Thank you for such a wonderful film.
0Comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 December 2007
I defy you not to be blown away by Marion Cotillard who gives the performance of a lifetime in my favourite film of all time. I cannot sing it praises enough- visually stunning, heartbreaking story and the voice that captured an age and my heart
0Comment|13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 March 2008
This is quite a film and not a particularly joyous one, but neither was the life of Edith Piaf. The life journey of Edith Piaf was mostly new to me and if the film was true to her life then it was a pretty tough start. She came across as having quite a few narcissistic traits, which would not be surprising giving her parents lack of care and concern for her needs.

The performance of Marion Cotillard was brilliant and the Oscar for best actress was well deserved. She truly lived into the role and portrayed well the life of a tormented soul.
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 September 2007
This is one of the best movies I've seen. Marion Cotillard is stunning in the lead role! You'll believe you're really seeing Edith Piaf.
"The Little Sparrow" really didn't have much luck in her life and this movie covers it all. You don't even have to be a Piaf fan. The sound track is magnificent. Anyone who saw Marion Cotillard in "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe will be amazed at the transformation.
Go see this movie now!
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 February 2008
If there are lots of reviews on here saying Marion Cotillard is amazing as Edith Piaf, there's a reason - she is. Her performance here is totally amazing and utterly mesmerizing. So many films these days (especially Hollywood ones) are over-hyped, and filled with good looking puppets - 2-dimensional 'actors' chosen for their looks rather than acting skills. Marion Cotillard is a glimpse back into a more golden film age where people could actually act - really act - and even on these terms she knocks the socks off many golden greats. She really does inhabit the part of Piaf.

There's a totally bizarre review earlier on here saying she was miscast and didn't has to be one of the most ill-judged things I've ever read on here. Even one of Edith Piaf's closest friends, Ginou Richer, who is still alive and sat in on the recording of the final scene at 'Olympia', paid tribute to Cotillard (in an interview in the Guardian newspaper), saying:

"Marion has it exactly, the way she walks, talks, her way of laughing. The hardest part for her was lip-synching the songs, but really, you'd say it was Edith singing." That's some tribute coming from someone who lived as a companion with Edith for 15 years.

The same earlier reviewer got it wrong on the songs too - most of the Piaf songs in the film are real Piaf vocal performances, re-mastered for the film.

The film itself isn't the greatest scenario/synopsis of Piaf's life - it misses a lot of the complexities of Piaf's life, and several of her key relationships - such as with Yves Montand - are overlooked. The director apparently did this deliberately, because he wanted to concentrate on Piaf's life as a woman vis-à-vis her art. To a certain extent he does succeed, even if he does out-Hollywood Hollywood in the process. I also agree with one previous reviewer who says that the immense adoration felt for Piaf in France is not shown or contextualised. Anyone unfamiliar with Piaf's life story might be forgiven for thinking she was just a famous singer. She wasn't - she was, and still is, an absolute icon in France. The crowds for her burial in Père Lachaise brought Paris to a standstill. But these omissions don't necessarily detract from the film's power, which lies totally with the quality of the acting and the visual cinematography.

I have to say that the scene where Edith looses her true love, Marcel Cerdan, will stay with me for ever.

2 DVDs in box - the second one containing 7 deleted scenes, a look at how Marion Cotillard transformed herself into Edith Piaf, and a feature on Edith Piaf.
33 comments|48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)