In Praise of Love

"Terrible"

In Praise of Love Review


One might expect a cathartic viewing experience walking into a new Jean-Luc Godard film. After all, he was a founding member of the highly influential French New Wave. He is also an esteemed film critic, lending intelligence and historical perspective to us in much of his writing. However, his latest creation, In Praise of Love, is possibly the most exasperating film experience of the year.

The abstract concept on which the film is based had merit, to dissect love into the following four categories: meeting, physical passion, quarrels, and reconciliation. These four universal truths would be revealed through three different couples: young, adult, and elderly. It is Edgar's (Bruno Putzulu) self-appointed task to capture these moments after a recent breakup, to define a central idea: "It's only when things are over that they make sense." Whether this project will end up a play, film, or opera remains undecided. The thesis is simple enough that, if played right, it could really hold sympathetic value for anyone.

Instead what ensues is an hour and a half of repetitive vignettes, the next scene no more engaging than the last. Only once does any character utter something worthwhile, but by the time it happens you're so thoroughly bored you can easily miss it. But don't fret, it will surface again. You could easily sleep through whole sections of the film (as some fellow critics did) and wake up in a scene exactly like the one you nodded off in, not having missed anything worthwhile.

But you hold hope for some time. The background music keeps you in a state of urgency, and even suspense, for the first few conversations. It's only after repeated failures to pay any of this off that you lose all hope. And with speeches like, "I am thinking of something, but I can only think of that something when I am thinking of something else," how can you expect to hold anyone's interest?

To Godard's credit, he certainly knows how to frame a scene. The black and white footage used for the first half of the film is starkly beautiful. Watching Edgar read while walking along a train track on a mountain makes you wish you had something to ponder along with him. And if this film had anything poignant to say, you would have, which makes you all the angrier at the numerous missed opportunities. The environments, be it city or country, are impeccably captured in crisp detail, but the script never complements them.

Unfortunately, Godard also manages to pillage his photographic eye by randomly cutting to black numerous times within any given scene. Sometimes these breaks are used for chapter headings, but these are even more cryptic than the spoken words. The second half is composed of nauseating hyper-color that often blurs the image. You suddenly feel like a doomed character straight out of Scanners.

The only scene that makes any sense is one that complains about the United States bastardizing history in the making of movies. Steven Spielberg is picked on in particular. While I'll grant that this does happen, and I tend to shy away from watching such garbage, it's still a pointless focus for a film that purports to articulate the specific qualities of couplehood.

It just goes to show, an intelligent person isn't necessarily an admirable storyteller. The days of Breathless are no more.

Aka Éloge de l'amour.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 16th May 2001

Box Office USA: $38.8k

Distributed by: Manhattan Pictures International

Production compaines: Avventura Films, Peripheria, Canal+, ARTE France Cinéma, Vega Film, Télévision Suisse-Romande (TSR), ECM Records

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 35

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Edgar, as Elle, as Grandfather, Françoise Verny as Grandmother, as Eglantine, Jérémie Lippmann as Perceval

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.