MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,732 this week

Murmur of the Heart (1971)
"Le souffle au coeur" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  17 October 1971 (USA)
7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,978 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 38 critic

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... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 29 Apr 2011
 
a list of 35 titles
created 06 Feb 2013
 
list image
a list of 24 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 39 titles
created 6 months ago
 
Wes
a list of 42 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Murmur of the Heart (1971) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Murmur of the Heart.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A small town in the south-west of France, summer of 1944. Having failed to join the resistance, the 18 year old Lucien Lacombe, whose father is a prisoner in Germany and whose mother dates ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Pierre Blaise, Aurore Clément, Holger Löwenadler
The Lovers (1958)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Bored with her husband, bored with her polo-playing lover, will the middle-aged heroine go away with the young man who gave her a lift that day when her car broke down on the way back to ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Alain Cuny, Jean-Marc Bory
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Alain Leroy is having a course of treatment in a private hospital because of his problem with alcohol. Although he is constantly distressed, he leaves the hospital and tries to meet good ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Maurice Ronet, Léna Skerla, Yvonne Clech
May Fools (1990)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Like Vanya, in Malle's last film, Milou never left the family estate. His mother dies during the May 1968 student uprising in Paris. The brother who is the London correspondent for Le Monde... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Miou-Miou, Michel Piccoli, Michel Duchaussoy
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In Paris around 1900, Georges Randal is brought up by his wealthy uncle, who steals his inheritance. Georges hopes to marry his cousin Charlotte, but his uncle arranges for her to marry a ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Geneviève Bujold, Marie Dubois
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with an outsize personality.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian, Marie-Christine Barrault
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

When Jill becomes a movie star, she soon discovers that her private life is destroyed by persistent fans that won't leave her alone. Her mother's ex-lover, Fabio, tries to protect her.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Marcello Mastroianni, Nicolas Bataille
Alamo Bay (1985)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A despondent Vietnam veteran in danger of losing his livelihood is pushed to the edge when he sees Vietnamese immigrants moving into the fishing industry in a Texas bay town.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Amy Madigan, Ed Harris, Ho Nguyen
Luna (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

While touring in Italy, a recently-widowed American opera singer has an incestuous relationship with her 15-year-old son to help him overcome his heroin addiction.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Jill Clayburgh, Matthew Barry, Veronica Lazar
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This merry farce depicts a satirical view of the French society: Twelve years old Zazie has to stay two days with her relatives in Paris, so that her mother can spend some time with her ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Catherine Demongeot, Philippe Noiret, Hubert Deschamps
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Clara Chevalier
Benoît Ferreux ...
Laurent Chevalier
...
Charles Chevalier
...
Father Henri
Ave Ninchi ...
Augusta
Gila von Weitershausen ...
Freda (the prostitute)
Fabien Ferreux ...
Thomas
Marc Winocourt ...
Micheline Bona ...
Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier ...
Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval ...
Fernande
Corinne Kersten ...
Daphne
Eric Walter
François Werner ...
Hubert
René Bouloc ...
Man at Bastille Day party
Edit

Storyline

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 <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murmur of the Heart  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,200,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While the incest aspects of the story were not autobiographical, Louis Malle did in fact end up sharing a hotel room with his mother as a child while on a trip to treat his heart murmur due to "bizarre" circumstances. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, Laurent and his friend walk the streets collecting money for charity. Laurent's friend's socks are pushed down, but when they decide to "try somewhere else," the shot of the two walking away shows the socks pulled up. In the next shot, they're down again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murphy Brown: Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
not as light as I totally expected, but with enough life and vibrancy to keep it from being dark either
25 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I wonder what Freudians would think of the relationship between Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) and Clara Chevalier (Lea Massari), son and mother, who for half the film are basically on their own as the son gets treatment for a heart ailment. Maybe it's hard to think anything about this, or to put such an easy label as 'oedipal' on this whole psychological criss-cross. But what's hard to deny is how much liveliness is in possibly Louis Malle's best film (that I've seen yet at any rate). It's a tale of innocence lost, but then again in a family where it's not a high commodity anyway. Laurent is surrounded by older brothers who get him into parties with alcohol, and even to a brothel where he awkwardly loses his virginity. He also is a choirboy, does excellently in school, has an intellectual side that runs deep, and goes to confess his sins (from time to time) for the priest. But then there's something about his Mother, when he sees her get into a car he doesn't recognize or rides off with someone mysterious, that ignites his confused flame of first-hitting-puberty sexual jealousy. And it all leads up to Bastille day.

Murmur of the Heart is not a picture really bent on anything with a solid plot, as it's more concerned with the kind of European 'character study' (not that there isn't a story there to look at it). I read Ebert's review and he mentioned that the picture is more about the mother than the son. I could see where that viewpoint comes from, but I have to think that it's more about both of them, and while I watched it (as opposed to now thinking about it once its ended) it seemed more concerned with the son and perpetually through his point of view. He doesn't totally understand why his mother feels the way she does, and why she runs off to her other man, torn between leaving her gynecologist husband for him. But Malle makes it seem torn between each side when Laurent is left at the hotel while Clara is away for two days. His confusion leads him into a kind of disarray that's been hinted at before, and its made all the more clear in the tension- very underneath their games and witty remarks- that builds up.

But even with such an idea for the film, it is never really ugly or trashy. If anything, Malle does the best thing possible by making such a taboo subject realistic around the situation of family and the period. It's really wonderful seeing how Malle directs the smaller scenes, the bits that a director usually wouldn't bother with for emotional sake, or the little bits of dialog that do go on in the real world that don't necessarily have to do much with the rest of the story (one of those is when Laurent is getting washed down with a hose at the medical clinic, and the woman washing him goes on a long tangent of talk, not conversationally, just to hear herself talk). It could be tricky dealing with such mundane aspects of life such as brothers hanging out and goofing off, but there's layers of masculinity that get thrown in the mix (what are we to make of when the boys measure 'themselves' with a ruler, much to the angry housekeeper's dismay, or when Laurent tries out her mothers make-up I wondered).

All the while Malle bases these characters in an entirely plausible environment and with a cast that works very well. Massari is almost TOO alluring a woman to be anyone's mother, least of which the headstrong and vulnerable Laurent, but this works to show what her frame of mind must be too, as she gets as much attention (in a different way of course) as Laurent does from the teenage girls. The actor playing Laurent is a first-timer here ala Leaud in 400 Blows, but I even got a Bresson feeling from him, of there being a lot of emotions buried underneath his usually calm and poised expression, the kind that can be felt even with just the slightest hints. He's perfect for the kind of kid who's still a bit much in his own desires and wants to see what may happen from all of this in the long term. But the psychological implications are left even more to chance by the ending, which is one of the best moments Malle has ever directed as the family all laughs together. Not to forget to mention another big plus, the film is filled with one of the best jazz soundtracks ever put together (including Parker, Bechet, Gillespie among others), and an exquisite use of period and very tasteful way about the more 'graphic' parts of the film. Murmur of the Heart shows in tragic-comic detail the sophistication and lewd sides of the French, and draws a lot to ponder about a boy's crossover in that rotten period of 14-15 years old and of a woman who has the same mixture of unstable emotions and child-like ideals of her own blood that pull the two into what happens. In totally unconventional terms, it's 'magnifique'. A+


35 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
beautiful film LadyHildreth
This movie is NOT about incest! trivial_matt
Squid and the Whale cjstevens1975
step mom or biological mom? denby-1
about final scene ppeerrssoonnaa
Cool jazz song? JetG
Discuss Murmur of the Heart (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?