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116 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memo to the Hollywood Academy: Cotillard for Best Actress!!, 20 Nov 2007
This review is from: La Vie En Rose (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
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....
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Mar 2008 11:49:26 GMT
Postscript is of course that Marion Cotillard deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar, though her acceptance speech was somewhat over the top (aren't they always?!) Worth watching the making of documentary to see something of the process she had to go through to create Piaf, not least prosthetics, miming Piaf's own songs and the extremes of emotion. Cotillard's own voice is pretty good too, for that matter!

Posted on 1 Aug 2012 01:17:04 BDT
truthsetter says:
An even better biopic is HILDE

http://www.yesasia.com/global/hilde-2009-dvd-hong-kong-version/1023698327-0-0-0-en/info.html

This DVD is Region 3 so multiregion player required. Quality is superb.

A great biopic of Germany's most beloved post WWII star.
Packaging of the DVD is superb and not well shown by the site.

Posted on 15 Jan 2013 12:51:00 GMT
K. A. Newton says:
Brilliant Review.

Thank you.
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