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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 January 2012
It's funny, on an 'objective' level this is a weaker film than
Beineix's 'Diva'. Indulgent (3 hours long!), with a sometimes uneasy
mix of comedy and dark drama, some over the top acting and a few scenes
that make no sense at all (the robbery?!?). Plus a climax that's a
painfully obvious steal from another film.

You could also make a good argument that the film's view of women is
retrograde; they're crazy muses that help us to find the really
important thing, ourselves. Then we can get along without them.

Certainly critics are much more mixed on this then on the seminal
'Diva'.

Yet for all that, I actually enjoyed this more than 'Diva'. There were
more moments when I got caught up in the story, in the way the images
and music and emotion interacted, and I appreciated that it lacked
'Diva's self-satisfied, self-referential 'cool'.

Not a great film, but an honest attempt to explore both the madness of
love, and madness in love. (And, yes, all the hot sex and nudity is fun
too.). My rating is probably too high, but damn it, images, moments
and emotions just keep sticking with me.
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on 9 October 2006
BETTY BLUE (or 37º2 LE MATIN, to give it its original French title) is a film based on a book by Philippe Dijan, and centres around Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a 30-year-old painter and plumber who has written a novel that keeps being refused by publishers. His girlfriend is the titular Betty (a very good start for Béatrice Dalle), a 19-year-old beauty who has a penchant for becoming unpredictable in her behaviour to the point where she could literally be throwing the toys out of the pram.

Zorg has an argument with his boss, which Betty takes very badly and makes our young couple leave the area to try and get Zorg's book published in the big city. However, the refusals from publishers continue, and this causes our wildcat Betty to fly off the handle in her own inimitable way, but her mood swings and rage become an increasing concern for Zorg, and might lead to disastrous consequences. How can their relationship possibly survive?

I've not read the original book, but nothing can alter the fact that this is a highly accomplished example of French cinema at its best, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix. Each shot is beautifully coloured, with clever uses of blues and yellows in particular. Anglade and Dalle are fantastic to watch, with very believable performances from the pair of them, and you wonder what could have happened to Dalle had she not had the occasional moments similar to her Betty character in real life (one altercation with the law reportedly denied her the ability to get a US visa to get a role on THE SIXTH SENSE). Dalle in particular really sets the screen alight with her beautiful smile and alluring performance.

There is a fair bit of sex and nudity in this film. In fact, the very moment that the opening credits end you're in a sex scene! You also see a lot of shots of full-frontal nudity from both of the principal performers, and the most prudish might be a bit annoyed about the number of times Anglade walks around naked with, ahem, everything on show. But in all fairness this is a different culture, and the whole film certainly doesn't come off as gratuitous when there's so much else to marvel at. Yes, the film is almost three hours long, but it's not really a drag at all (and nobody says you have to watch the whole thing at once on DVD).

The music plays an integral part in the film, especially from the moment that the two end up in a piano store and play a tune together, which resurfaces in later key parts of the film. Gabriel Yared composed the score.

Given Betty's problems, you might think that the film's all doom and gloom when she goes into one of her rages, but in fact there are plenty of times when she's really sweet and smiley, and the film is punctuated with some light-hearted comic moments that do not detract from the film in any way.

Wonderful film.
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on 21 December 2006
A moody, romantic, whimsical film, undoubtedly more than the sum of its parts with convincing and gritty performances, beautiful cinematography, and a soundtrack that literally speaks for itself. Sometimes the film is a little overwraught, but then so are Betty and Zorg, caught up as they are in Betty's terrible instabilities. Watch it and you'll just want to watch it again - there's just too much to enjoy/appreciate for one viewing.

I'd recommend getting the soundtrack too - I'm not a big soundtrack fan, but this really is a great production, very atmospheric, perfect on a summer's day with all thw windows open wide.
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on 2 February 2010
I hardly noticed the nudity the first time I saw this film because the story is completely absorbing. The second time I had to agree, there is a lot of Zorg and Betty on view, but it is acted in such an un-selfconcious way that it seems completely natural, this pair are passionately in love, completely absorbed in each other. The film charts Betty's deterioration from free-spirited extrovert, with a tendency to over-react to situations, to self-harming introvert Zorg can no longer reach. Actually, it isn't so much about Betty, as about the effect this has on Zorg. Neither is it a film about mental illness, as we, like Zorg, never find out what she is suffering from. The change in Betty is not linear, at times she is happy, stable and loving, everything seems to be going well; which makes the end almost unutterably sad. (I hope that isn't too much of a spoiler.) I think the final breakdown is triggered because she really wants a stable life and a family, then finds she can't have a baby: so this happy life is not to be for her. That isn't really explained very well in the film, perhaps it's only weakness, as you do find yourself yelling Why? Why? Why? at her sometimes (perhaps it is elaborated more in the Director's cut, but I saw the shorter version).
Parallel to this story is that Betty encourages Zorg to write. She believes in him and tries everything she can to get his writing published. At the end he is published, but too late for her to know, and is writing another book (and talking to her as the cat, very poignant).
This film looks amazing, but it is not "look" at the expense of content. Is quite rightly a classic.
Nothing more to add except to say that the English dubbing is poor, so watch and listen to it in French and read the subtitles, in fact watch it twice.
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on 20 November 2009
The viewer gets an early glimpse of Betty's psyche when her way of telling her boyfriend she wants to move is by burning down the house. Tragic, beautiful, complicated yet simple, many words describe Betty Blue but few really truly encapsulate the essence of her character. Ultimately doomed, the film depicts her slow and very real descent into her own personal hell.

This film has laugh out loud moments woven around a tragic story. The camerawork is sublime and there is not a bad actor in it. French film making at it's best. A true classic.
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on 27 April 2014
I would just like to say I came across this film by accident on Amazon, read the reviews and bought it, no regrets at all.

I would describe it as world cinema / art-house with a black humour content that I found very funny at times, alas the last 20 minutes is both sad and poignant as Betty descends into madness.

There is adult content to the film mainly at the start, but almost as if the director wished to get it out of the way and then deal with the story proper.

I really must stress that I found this film very entertaining , mainly due to the unexpected comical turns the story took, almost to the point of farce, Betty does some very laugh out loud things, which I wouldn't like to say so as to not spoil the surprises for you.

Finally I would just add that I am annoyed that I didn't know of this film before, as it is excellent.
I hope I have helped you.
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on 10 August 2014
The best pressing to date of this landmark movie. Both cinema (Director's Cut 177 mins Disc 1) and DVD/VHS (Theatrical 116 mins ) versions are included along with an hour documentary and Betreace Dalle screentests on Disc 2. Class picture quality remastered to HD and stereo sound make this epic. If you're after a copy get this 2 Disc Region 0 Edition and enjoy.
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on 15 January 2007
I adore this film, and watch it again and again and again...

It is compelling, if not compulsive, viewing.

It is beautiful, powerful, sensitive, moving and totally addictive.

It is quite possibly the best film that has ever been made.

It is...Betty Blue...a classic...a one off...incomparable...unequalled...perfect in every way!
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on 1 February 2009
This is a French film of Shakespearean proportions. It runs for nearly 3 hours, and is almost three films in one, following a young couple through three distinct locations, the first quite surreal; and meeting some great characters on the way. Pathos and humour it has, but be warned it is quite dark in places. It is well known for having the longest sex scene opening of any film, though this is not gratuitous in any sense.
I have watched this film twice, once shortly after release, and enjoyed it both times. It stands up well, and proves once more that the French film industry is leaps and bounds ahead, in my opinion!
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on 21 April 2016
Great movie full of depth and atmosphere, special moments, friendship, delicate, a feeling.. I always stop watching before things turn in the last quarter or so of the movie! It has a weird turnaround which is challenging, before that, it is just perfect, special. Next time I may watch it through to the end though as it has a lot to do with what I think the overall message is, but I won't talk too much about that here. I'm not the type to watch movies again and again, but I keep watching this. One can just sit in the atmosphere it creates. I need to read the book.
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