L'Auberge Espagnole

"Good"

L'Auberge Espagnole Review


A movie like L'Auberge Espagnole should feel like an embrace. You should be pulled into the close-knit environment of seven young, smart, sexy Europeans living together in a Barcelona flat (The title translates to "Euro Pudding"). You should feel the confusion of the movie's young protagonist as he struggles with his feelings for three women.

Though it is a solid movie with some astute observations, L'Auberge Espagnole constantly pushes you away like a busy parent on a deadline. The movie never makes a connection because it's too busy tackling too many subjects, instead of focusing on doing one thing well.

You know how some people try to cram 48 hours into a 24-hour day? Well, those people now have a movie to call their own.

The plot starts off simply enough. Confused young Frenchman Xavier (Romain Duris) is told by his father's former business associate that the future is in Spanish economics. So, Xavier packs his bags, says goodbye to his girlfriend Martine (Amelie's Audrey Tautou), and goes to business school in Barcelona to start on the so-called right path.

At the Barcelona airport, Xavier meets a young French couple. Jean-Michel (Xavier De Guillebon) is a cocky neurosurgeon; Anne-Sophie (Judith Godrèche) is a shy and repressed beauty. While looking for lodging, Xavier stays with the accommodating couple, and becomes a friend to the beautiful Anne. Both are homesick and intimidated by the country they now call home.

Xavier eventually finds space with the aforementioned group of Europeans, in a multi-roomed flat that is convincingly dirty and cramped. When there is a rent increase, Xavier recruits a sexy classmate (Cècile De France), who he begins to fall for. However, when she admits that she's a lesbian, he's uses her to provide foreplay techniques, which he then uses on Anne, who barely raises a fuss.

Meanwhile, Xavier is having communication problems with his girlfriend back home, which leads to even more confusion on his part. Though, I imagine it's a slight easier to deal with such confusion when you're bedding a curvy beauty.

In between all of the longing, crying, and bed hopping, the audience gets to meet Xavier's roommates, who are all immensely likable and quirky. The only setback is there is so much material to be covered that you never feel like you're watching a complete movie. It's more like watching a detailed outline that's still being worked on. You get segments with the roommates that are fun and poignant, and then you get whisked away to a bedroom or a teary phone call. Then the ride begins all over again.

Obviously, you don't get to know any of the conflicts or characters on an intimate level, which is a downright pity. You could devote a whole series of movies on Anne, who is an intimidating beauty, but is easily controlled by the two men in her life. Her affair with Xavier would have been a great examination of how two lost people function intimately (like The Good Girl or You Can Count on Me), but it goes nowhere until its lousy conclusion. Xavier's relationship with Martine and his hippie mom would also be fertile movie ground, but that gets middling attention.

The roommates' treatment is even more baffling. We don't get to know their problems and their dynamic, save for fights over fridge space and a night of partying. One of the characters discovers he's a father, but the issue gets dealt with like he gets a speeding ticket. Another character, Wendy (played by the lovely Kelly Reilly) gets into a screaming match with Xavier over her responsible nature. The exchange is awkward, because we barely know her. It's even more unusual when she's shaking her groove thing at a club minutes later.

If director/writer Cédric Klapisch simply cut several characters and pared down the subplots, I could see myself loving this movie. Klapisch, though, refuses to make choices. So, characters and scenes (Wendy's obnoxious, un-PC brother, an elaborate plan to distract Wendy's boyfriend) get crammed in, without regard to the tone and flow of the story. The onscreen result is a classic example of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Aka The Spanish Apartment.

That's Chicago.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th June 2002

Box Office USA: $3.8M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Mate Producciones S.A.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 69 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Xavier, as Martine, as Wendy, as Isabelle, as Soledad, Federico D'Anna as Alessandro, as Tobias, Christian Pagh as Lars, Martine Demaret as La mère de Xavier, Javier Coromina as Juan, Jacno as Le père de Xavier, as Anne-Sophie, as William, as Jean-Michel, as Jean-Charles Perrin, Irene Montalà as Neus, as Alistair, Olivier Raynal as Bruce, Paulina Gálvez as la professeur de flamenco, as un professeur d'université

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

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.