Reviews

La Vie En Rose

4

Lushly shot, brilliantly played and with a narrative as tortured as Edith Piaf’s own guttersnipe-to-goddess trajectory: Olivier Dahan’s sumptuous, fractured biopic applies the melodrama of The Little Sparrow’s songs to her life-story. Marion Cotillard’s vivid, uncanny performance as Piaf rivets the eye during her big numbers; she’s pitch-perfect all the way from wily Parisian waif to wizened international icon. There’s no other Ray–style realism here, though. Piaf’s early life is shown in a heartbreaking whirl though the brothel, backstreets and nightclubs of her youth, all of which is rendered with the stagey, impressionistic intensity of oft-recounted memories. Cleverly (although sometimes confusingly) these elements play out alongside the cruel spiral of Piaf’s final years, when she was dogged by drink, drugs and on-stage collapses – a device that breaks up the greatest-hits-to-graveyard predictability that is the curse of the biopic. 

 

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