Fri June 22, 2007
La Vie en Rose
A beautiful mess.
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
La Vie En Rose is a beautiful mess, a bit like the life of chanteuse Edith Piaf herself. In the same turmoil as the life of Ray Charles and Judy Garland, and maybe a little of Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf was a mid- twentieth century French pop singer with vocal chords almost the size of her tiny 4 foot 8 inch body and a drug and alcohol life style to match those lungs.
Marion Cotillard as Piaf deserves an acting award as she pulls us to the heights of Piaf's success and drags us to her early 47 year old death. The actress is 8 parts Piaf and 2 parts Garland, with expression that bleeds empathy, suffering, and doom for a spirit too fragile to withstand her talent's demands. As in Frida, this biopic gives some measure of how the enormous talent came to be, from street singer, to cabaret star, to muisic hall phenomenon.
The mess of the film is the structure?flashback, flash forward until you're dizzy with childhood, womanhood, old woman in a mixture that director Olivier Dahan must have meant as metaphor for Piaf's mixed up life. The actress's ability to morph from partying dope head to classy chanteuse to abuse-laden, corpse-like has-been is remarkably on the mark.
When she sings at the end "No regrets," you will be happy that, like Sinatra, this wild child did it her way.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com