8 December 2012 4:04 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The rock star Peter Doherty makes an inauspicious debut in this English-speaking French movie based on Alfred de Musset's semi-autobiographical novel of 1836 that was partly inspired by his affair with George Sand. He plays Octave, an aristocratic product of the Romantic era who turns from devoted lover to libertine on discovering his mistress's infidelity. But after agreeing with a cynical friend that love is an illusion, he embarks on a lengthy attempted seduction of the widowed Brigitte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in the misty, melancholic countryside. His demeanour is more languorous than lecherous, and after much tedious talk they eventually become lovers, though no sparks of passion fly to ignite the hot air. Under the direction of a film-maker who speaks little English, Doherty and Gainsbourg give flat performances, their speech uninflected, their line readings uncertain.

DramaPete DohertyCharlotte GainsbourgPhilip French

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- Philip French

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