Romance

"Weak"

Romance Review


"Romance" is the kind of French movie that can turn people off from French cinema altogether.

Not just the subtitle-averse, mind you, but anyone who isn't an arthouse snob, anyone who doesn't like foreign films simply because they suggest a sophistication American movies don't.

A dark character study of a beautiful, insecure young woman named Marie (Caroline Ducey) whose self-respect is shattered when her boyfriend loses interest in sex, the core idea here is a intriguing one -- the deep exploration of the natural feminine need to feel desired, gone very wrong. But "Romance" serves its anguish without optimism, making it almost impossible to get behind its hopeless heroine.

After a final, humiliating stab at trying to arouse her lover (Sagamore Stevenin), Marie shames herself into a hateful downward spiral, turning to anonymous sex with strangers, then to S&M, and finally to fulfilled rape fantasies, all in a passionless and frequently graphic (even pornographic) attempt to force herself into sexual indifference.

Meanwhile, a typically French excess of internal dialogue provides the audience a constant feed of Marie's insecurities and her self-debasing thought processes.

If this deliberately unpleasant film with the ironic title allowed its heroine to turn a corner and begin a journey of pride-recovering self-discovery, that would be one thing, but writer-director Catherine Breillat never lets Marie out of her pit of despair. As a human being, Marie turns out to be an emotional write-off, and waiting for her to pull herself together for 103 minutes -- only to find out she never will -- is a gyp.

What's more, Breillat fails to explore any kind of backstory that might explain poor Marie's severe psychological dysfunction. She seems to think her protagonist is perfectly normal -- which leads one to ponder how screwed up the director must be herself.

While Ducey's performance is powerful (the rest of the characters are vulgar one-note sketches), it's almost impossible to watch this movie without wondering what is wrong with an actress who would degrade herself like this for a role (having violent, objectified, on-screen sex, for one thing).

If, in the course of the story, the main character eventually began down a road to recovering her ego, it would probably have negated most of my complaints about "Romance." At least Marie would have held some appeal as a protagonist. But as it is, I honestly can't imagine this film appealing to anyone but misogynists and women who identify so strongly with Marie that they should be in therapy.



Romance

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 14th April 1999

Distributed by: Trimark Pictures

Production compaines: ARTE France Cinéma, Canal Plus, CB Films, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Procirep, Flach Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Marie, as Paul, as Robert, as Paolo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.