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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 8 June 2007
If I could give this film 6 stars, I would have.

This is a beautiful, haunting piece that has deservedly become a classic. The almost unbearable delay to its DVD release no doubt added to its mystique and cult status (along with that wonderful poster), but regardless, it is quite simply wonderful.

21 years since it's original release, it remains one of the very few examples of a film being as good as the novel - in fact, it's possibly even better.

Impeccably acted, with a wonderful script and haunting camera work, somehow it manages to exemplify the eighties while retaining a timeless quality. Beatrice Dalle is simply stunning - not just in her beauty but in the way she obssesses and seduces both the lead male character and the viewer.

It's almost a shame that she won this role so early in her career as she has never bettered it - and will probably never be able to. She therefore remains a very under-rated actress.

Essential viewing for any lover of French cinema - essential viewing in fact for any lover of quality cinema.

Buy it - you won't be disappointed, but you may be a little bit haunted ...
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on 22 July 2010
There is an abiding illusion that Directors know how their movie should be presented and that the Director's Cut is therefore the one to get, the one to wait for. Occasionally perhaps that is true but for other films the studio knew best. This is one of those cases. The film depicts a writer who is becalmed in life until he falls in love with Betty, the muse that will give life back to his creativity. But as his art is reborn so she slips into madness and decay as if it is her very spirit of life itself that she is surrendering to save that which her lover needs most of all.

In the original the love, the climb, is the length of the movie, funny, touching, poetic and sensual. The decay is portrayed quickly and savagely. The point is made, the story told. In the Director' s cut the decay goes on forever and by the end of an extra hour of depression you long for her end as an end to your own suffering. This entirely changes the emotional journey of the film and for me ruined it. If you can find it then get the studio cut. That one is five stars.
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2006
"Betty Blue" is never less than captivating from start to finish. The film is a love story about two misfits who become soul mates; Zorg is an unambitious handyman with ambitions to become a writer, while Betty is a beautiful , but mentally disturbed waitress with a violent streak. Their love affair develops as they move from the coast first to Paris and then to a village in the mountains. The acting and characterisation is superb as is the storyline and cinematography . "Betty Blue" captures the essence of the roller coaster ride of deep obsessional love ; the powerful sense of profound vitality and purpose mixed with anxiety and despair at the prospect of it's loss. My only criticism of the film would be that I thought it was a little overlong at three hours, although it was never boring, and the end was a bit harrowing too. "Betty Blue" was groundbreaking in its day with regards to the copious amount of nudity and the ,ammm, very realistic sex scenes displayed in the film. So don't watch it you find that offensive.
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on 5 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.

There may be Spoilers if you read on.
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. It is elaborated more in the Director's cut; I originally saw the shorter version, but now have the longer one.
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).
The subsidiary characters are less detailed than the two leads, but are quite well drawn, I particularly warmed to the fun-loving, generous, but emotional Eddy and thought Zorg's rather unpleasant boss deserved what he got.
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.
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on 22 July 2007
37.2 Le Matin(Betty Blue) is a brilliant piece of work. Jean-Huhues Anglades' natural performance as Zorg in this easy going - take life as it comes story line makes you want to see more of him. To see someone you love violently erode away is painful and Robins' beautiful camera work with the slow tracking makes the visual experience stimulating. The slow pace of this tale of love and friendship is no cause of concern. Very French, the nudity is handled beautifully. The subtle use of the color yellow is interesting. The film makes you want to be free to live a life of impulse and simplicity. A must watch for the film aficionado.
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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 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 28 May 2009
Hollywood films are replete with violence and death,but human sexuality and nudity is basically taboo.One reason "Betty Blue" has a cult status is because of the lashings of nudity,male and female,scattered through the film.For some odd reason,les anglosaxons got all worked up by this,so don't watch this if you're easily offended.You'll see why in the first few minutes,as the film starts with a very realistic-looking sex scene.
It isn't porn by any means,the nudity and sexual scenes are frank but not sleazy.The story of the film is basically the rise and fall of a relationship between a man and a woman,and the concurrent collapse of the woman's mental health.The only other film I've seen that deals with the theme of psychotic breakdown is Polanski's "Repulsion",which,unlike this,uses the subject as a theme for a horror film."Betty Blue" shows that mental illness attacks pretty young women who have a seemingly happy life.
Great photography and music,and great acting from Beatrice Dalle and the rest of the cast.Well worth a watch.
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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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