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Diabolo menthe
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Reviews & Ratings for
Peppermint Soda More at IMDbPro »Diabolo menthe (original title)

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Insight-filled story of one year in the lives of two French sisters

Author: Aldanoli from Ukiah, California
26 February 2000

Insight-filled story of one year (1963-64) in the lives of two French sisters, living in Paris with their divorced mother and trying their best to cherish the joy while coping with the pain of growing up. Director Kurys, who dedicated this, her first film, to her own sister "who still hasn't returned my orange sweater," obviously knows whereof she speaks, since the character's ages correspond to her own growing up years. Nevertheless, the actual time period doesn't become clear until late in the movie, and the characters and incidents are certainly universal.

As the older sister, Odile Michel is lovely, and does a capable job with her role. The gem in this movie, though, is Eleanore Klarwein, who is captivating as the younger, more sensitive sibling who doesn't yet understand all that is going on around her, but struggles onward to meet each day nonetheless.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Slow-Moving but Well-Remembered Realistic Slice of Life

Author: tdean
19 February 2001

The director's Entre Nous is one of my favorite movies. I had never seen Peppermint Soda, which I understood was equally autobiographical, so rented it. It's quite different in style from Entre Nous - covers far less time, and the "events" in the two sisters' lives are all quite "micro".

Yet it's also true that I cannot think of anything that portrays adolescence as it really was (for boys as well as girls) as well as this movie. Kurys has a truly remarkable feel for the extent to which music on the radio was a back-drop, or the way that a long-running dispute with a parent over clothing (in this case, nylons) can punctuate daily life, or the way friendships in school change over time. It's really a brilliant movie - not the most entertaining, but in its way, profound and well worth seeing. You will find yourself liking it more and more and more as the movie develops.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

School, parents, and other problems

Author: Perception_de_Ambiguity from The Divided States of Earth
21 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

1963. Anne is in 7th grade or so. Her sister Frédérique is in 9th grade or so. They go to the same school. 'Diabolo menthe' is a nicely observant and fast-paced series of vignettes about their life, especially their school life. The film is the definition of slice of life.

We get to see the differences between the lives of the two sisters, and their commonalities. Anne often is in a hurry to grow up, to catch up with her big sister. She wants as much pocket money as her, is happy when she gets her first period after which she immediately demands to join her sister when she goes to the dance club, she steals (or tries to), she plays a prank on Frédérique, she goes to a café after school for the first time but has to go home when Frédérique sees her there, she runs away from a guy on the street who's wearing a coat (presumingly because she thinks he is a flasher, or maybe he really did flash her before), etc. She has a classmate who knows all the things grown-ups now, like about sex and white slavery and such. Of course most of it is utter nonsense, but the other children believe her anyway. Every little thing that happens in her life feels like a tragedy, everything seems so terribly important, in school and out of school.

For Frédérique, although a mere two years older, things look quite different. She has become politically active even though politics are forbidden in school. She becomes estranged with her friend in class over political matters and becomes friends with a different girl. She goes camping alone with a boy but grows annoyed of him and drives back home when she hears that a classmate of hers suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. She and the father of the girl who disappeared end up kissing. Etc.

What they have in common is that they have to deal with teachers and parents. The teachers all have the typical quirks and shortcomings. They dish out unjust punishments because they don't even want to understand the children, they struggle with their own insecurities more than they struggle with the children, and so on. Just your average screwed up teachers mistreating children, but you as a child couldn't tell anybody about it, because who would care? A teacher would have to rape you in front of the class before somebody cares, which - spoiler alert - isn't something that happens in this film. Of course the children are devils too if you let them, and a teacher who isn't respected by the children has to go through hell when all the children in a class behave like maniacs as soon as you are alone with them.

'Diabolo menthe' isn't an overt period piece. There are references to the Kennedy assassination and to Alain Resnais' "Muriel" (because one classmate amusingly sports that same name) but overall this could pretty much take place today. Presumingly it's set in 1963 simply because writer/director Diane Kurys was around the protagonists' age at that time. This also isn't a denunciation of the education system like 'Mädchen in Uniform' or anything, it's just about the everyday life insanity. They are all real people and the dialogues are simple, very true to life. It's all very unassuming. Very relatable. Very enjoyable.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ah, The Apple Trees ...

Author: writers_reign
7 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is of course nothing new about autobiographical Art whether it comes in the form of a play (The Glass Menagerie), a novel (Other Voices, Other Rooms) or a film (Le Grand Chemin) and Diane Kurys has devoted more time than most to her childhood and adolescence and arguably mined it more successfully than most. Diabolo Menthe was the very first of her memoirs and it may be significant that the year it appeared, 1977, was the year she made the last of thirteen films as an actress (so far she has directed twelve films). She followed with Molotov Cocktail which I've yet to see, Coup de foudre, which dealt mainly with her mother, and La Baule-les-Pins, which continued the story of the two sisters, Frederique and Anne. Both Coup de foudre and La Baule-les-Pins were excellent so I tended to expect a lot from Diabolo Menthe and whilst it failed - at least for me - to match the high standards of Coup de foudre and La Baule-les-Pins it remains a remarkable achievement with a fine central performance and first-rate supporting actors. In a perfect world all four titles would be issued in a boxed set with a down side of drawing more attention to the fact that in each case the principles are played by different performers, something that although clear is not so glaring when the films are spaced apart as of course they were. Very well worth a look.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fresh. Green. Bubbly. Oui. Just not all the time.

Author: punishmentpark from Netherlands
28 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't expect to hear 'Living Doll' (The young ones) and 'Last Night' (Bottom) within the first fifteen minutes of this sympathetic French coming-of-age film, but there it is.

'Diabolo Menthe' presents the viewer with a series of incidents, accidents and such, spread over the course of one school-year (summer vacation to summer vacation), concerning the goings on of a small family. Mother and two daughters live in the city, father lives at sea (divorce). A lot of it takes place at a girls' school, then some at mother's home, some elsewhere in the city and some at sea. All the time there are things going on (some issues are seemingly bigger than others at first sight, but...), but it is hardly a story, much more like an 'anti-story', which is emphasized when two girls in the end conclude that, whatever things were like at the beginning of the school-year, things may change.

The setting of a seventies Paris (while the story takes place in '63 / '64) is wonderful (streets, school, apartments), most of the (young) cast act quite 'au naturel' and the dialogues and events have a certain timeless quality to them. The Dutch alternative title was rather unimaginative, so I will leave it unnamed. No: peppermint soda it is! A cool 8 out of 10, well worth staying up late for.

P.s. Does anyone know how the mother was so quickly cured of her psoriasas (not entirely, but still)? That could be worth gold, I suspect.

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