This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex, he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. Written by
Tim Horrigan <email@example.com>
Did You Know?
Writer/director Louis Malle
based many aspects of the protagonist Laurent's life on his own experiences growing up. This included his love of jazz, curiosity about literature, the "tyranny" of his two older brothers who tried to introduce him to sex, and having a heart murmur. However, Malle grew up in the 1930's and 40's, not the 50's as Laurent does. See more
During the chess match, the boys are sitting on what should be the spectator sides of the board, rather than the player sides. It appears that the chessmen were set up along the files rather than the ranks. (The lower right hand corner squares are black, when they should be white.) See more
Referenced in Spanking the Monkey