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37°2 le matin
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Reviews & Ratings for
Betty Blue More at IMDbPro »37°2 le matin (original title)

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66 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

A visual treat and an epic tale not to be missed

8/10
Author: Gerard Newham (keltic@zip.com.au) from Sydney, Australia
16 February 2000

The Betty of the title is like a shooting star; she runs hot and bright, but she's burning up. _Betty Blue_ chronicles a torrid affair between a waitress and a handyman, initially in a broken down seaside resort. Betty is both passionate and unstable, almost childlike, and initially it is outsiders who bear the brunt of her anger - the piggish owner of the seaside bungalows, for example, or the playboy publisher who rejects Zorg's novel.

However, as Betty becomes more unstable and begins her descent into insanity, this rage is increasingly turned inward into self-punishing and self-mutilating actions. The same intensity that drives her sexuality and her love for Zorg is, ultimately, her downfall.

Over the course of the movie, which is quite long (I saw the 178 minute director's cut), Zorg goes to increasingly frantic lengths both to please Betty and to protect her from herself. In this regard, certainly, Betty and Zorg are almost identical, both going to extremes, in their own ways, to defend their relationship from outside interference.

As well as providing a narrative that may be read and interpreted on several levels, _Betty Blue_ is an exceptionally beautiful film in terms of cinematography and mise en scene. Colour is used to breathtaking effect - the blue floors of the piano shop, the yellow car, the yellow lighting which makes it seem as though, regardless of time, it's always afternoon twilight. Landscapes, city scenes, interiors are all set up and filmed beautifully.

A tale of love, sex and obsession not to be missed.

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42 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Funny, sexy, romantic, off-beat and a personal favourite.

8/10
Author: Peter Hayes from United Kingdom
26 October 2005

A happy-go-lucky odd job man (Jean-Hugues Anglade as Zorg) falls in to a relationship with a slightly unhinged -- but very sexy/sexual -- French teenager named Betty (Béatrice Dalle in her debut role.)

There are very few films that are totally different from anything you have seen before. While sexually explicit -- it is far from objectionable because the two parties are in love and passionate about one another.

Betty Blue/37°2 le matin doesn't really fall in to any one category -- going from farce to tragedy, stopping off at oddball. The two leads are amazing in their chemistry -- they really do look and act like they are in love. Also what an amazing debut by the Dalle, although her later life has shown that she has plenty of the Betty Blue in her for real.

(Was this script written with her in mind? -- my search for the truth goes on.)

Starting the film with a sex scene sets the film off on the totally the wrong foot. While the film is about sex -- and at times sexual repression -- there are times when it looks like it was set in a nudist camp. Even Jean-Hugues Anglade strolls around with it all on show -- thankfully he looks like he has kept up his gym membership.

The scene in which Betty throws the whole of the fixtures and fittings of the beach apartment out of the window was stolen by a famous car advert (in the UK) and it really is a stretch of the imagination in that Zorg doesn't respond to it. He just paints on and lets her get on with it -- like he doesn't care.

(I think we all know how we would react in a similar situation and it wouldn't be like Zorg!)

This has great cinematography with every scene framed to perfection. The dour insides of the French household and the generally dirty oven and sink (usually with two weeks worth of dishes in them.) Very true if you know that part of the world!

The repeating, irregular, piano theme tune is what cinema is about -- when in the hands of people that know how to marry both mediums. Images and music fitting together to form a perfect marriage. Fantastic and moving.

The famous Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gives this low marks -- citing too much flesh being on display (among other faults) -- and this is sad given that he gave Kill Bill Part One top marks. A woman making love to a man she is in passionately in love with is tasteless -- a homicidal woman slicing the arms of a whole room of gangsters is OK?

Roger -- I respect you a great deal, but you are as wrong as Leslie Halliwell (author of the world's most famous film guide book) when he gave Close Encounters no stars at all.

You should come over here (Europe) a bit more. Walk about the beaches of France and Spain and look at the amount of flesh on display and the way people show affection for one another without glancing 'round to see who is looking. True it has one or two sex scenes too many -- as I hinted before -- but it is sex that means something and is about something.

Betty Blue is one of my top 200 films of all time and while it has its limits and its faults (it does sag a little in middle) it remains a powerful piece of work about living with crazy people and how easily good times can slip in to bad. I think if the sex was toned down and there was a bit more of the comedy/romance in the centre than this could easily be part of the IMDb top 200. Not that this really matters all that much.

A product that only the French could make and one gets under your skin and stays there.

This review is a reference to the original cinema cut.

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44 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

A film to remember, to enjoy, to feel

10/10
Author: Rustum (koelsch@ub.uni-siegen.de) from Siegen, Germany
20 March 2003

In my personal list of the best films i have seen in my life so far, "37°2 le matin" is sometimes placed in the top 10, sometimes below, but until now there are not enough films to replace it, even if it is now 15 years old.

A wonderful book by one of France's best authors was turned in into a beautiful film, one of the best, European cinema has created so far. Not even a bit old-fashioned, full of life, passion, tragedy, madness and love. A real classic. And i am not sure, it will be replaced in my top-list by another movie in the next years.

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35 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

The tragedy life of a Borderline Personality

10/10
Author: sandybi from Israel
31 October 2004

Its a great movie that shown the tragic life of a female that suffer from a borderline disorder. The sensitivity, she suffering and the way to love are the mean key for the tragedy in the life of the borderline. The movie focus into the life of a couple giving a huge brand of sense to the special way to love and to feel life trough Betty, a young borderline. The borderline disorder provide to the movies the best female personalities, but in real life, this rebel, intelligent, unpredictable people finish on a tragic end. Enjoy this amazing movie.

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34 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Love in their madness.

9/10
Author: mifunesamurai from Australia
7 February 2003

It was ten years ago when I saw the two hour version. Watching the director's cut was like seeing it for the first time. This version concentrated more on Jean-Hugues' character Zorg and his love and devotion to the mentally disintegrating Betty. The story takes its time, allowing us to understand Betty's illness and appreciate Zorg's erratic behaviour. The English title can be off putting because the expectations focus on the character Betty, played brilliantly by Dalle.

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30 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic

Author: Utter Bastard (utter_bastard@hotmail.com) from London
25 January 2001



As well as being one of the all-time erotic classics (and I mean "erotic" rather than "pornographic") this is simply a fantastic drama, poignant and harrowing, funny and sad. Beautifully shot with amazing colours, quirky characterization, excellent acting and imaginative direction this movie is a delight for all of its 185 minutes (the director's cut is the one to go for). But when is this coming out on DVD? Will the US film company's have enough imagination to bring it out? We can, like Zorg at the end of this movie, only live in hope.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

From the height of happiness to its depths.

8/10
Author: kenneth groom (keng5@mac.com) from United Kingdom
23 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a heartbreakingly tragic film centred around Betty, (Beatrice Dalle) a beautiful but unstable young woman, whose instability - or madness - becomes progressively worse throughout the film. In the beginning we think she is just an admirably rebellious and fiery person who is over-sensitive to slight and imagined insult. Later she is engulfed by these irrational and self-destructive bouts of hysteria for no perceptible reason. But this happens only occasionally; between times she behaves like a perfectly normal and happy person, as she has every reason to be. It is easy to become impatient with her. She keeps saying she has nothing to live for, that nothing she has ever done has worked out right, but how can this be when she is so much better off than so many millions of others, with beauty, two good friends and a good man who loves her to distraction despite everything? And she loves him in return.

Zorg (Jean-Hughes Anglalde) is an aspiring novelist with a novel in manuscript he has given up all hope of ever seeing published. But she believes in him and, using only two fingers, types out the manuscript with painful slowness, and, with an heroic persistence, continues sending it out to the publishers despite receiving a steady stream of rejection slips. And here-in lies the tragedy ; at the end of the film, when she is dead to the world and past caring, her efforts bear fruit and the manuscript is accepted. How happy knowing this would have made her. But too late.

We leave him alone in his kitchen about to start a new novel, a novel that she will never see, leading to a success and prosperity she will have no share in. My God isn't that sad? "What might have been." the saddest words in the English language.

The pain lies in imagining the long and happy life they might have had together, but for this thing that mad people have, whatever it is, gnawing away inside her mind. No explanation is attempted of why she was the way she was, no revelation of some childhood trauma or of some past bitter experience. We are left to assume that she had some brain or genetic defect. Nor are we given any psychiatric diagnoses. It is mentioned at one point that she is neurotic, but then aren't we all? She mentions hearing voices in her head which is the classic symptom of Schizophrenia, but her other behaviour doesn't fit the pattern. Nor does her behaviour fit the pattern of the Manic- depressive. who, surely, is subject only to mood-swings not to sudden and violently wild outburst of behaviour. So we are left to ponder the nature of madness. It makes you think and it's all interesting stuff.

This is a long film, but with a wealth of interest and by no means depressing; there are many happy sequences and funny moments, and the acting is uniformly excellent.

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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A kind, loving handyman and aspiring writer falls for a beautiful manic depressive and -- despite his gargantuan efforts -- can't help the love of his life exist in his world.

Author: Glenn Starnes (gstarnes@nemw.org) from Washington, DC
20 January 1999

Zorg, a shy, happy-go-lucky handyman and aspiring writer (Jean-Hughes Anglade) falls in love with Betty, a beautiful, free-spirited young woman (Beatrice Dalle). Betty has trouble with authority and tends to get reckless and sometimes violent when provoked. Zorg finds her manic behavior and cavalier demeanor refreshing as she brings him out of his shell. After Zorg's slum lord boss voices too many demands Betty tosses everything out of the house and then torches it. Even this exhibition of arson doesn't phase Zorg as they take off to seek a better life. As the story progresses, Zorg falls deeper in love with Betty and dismisses her increasingly bizarre behavior as quirky. Eventually, an event sets off a time bomb in Betty, and any doubts about her insanity are laid to rest.

37.2 le matin (Betty Blue) is simultaneously an entertaining "slice-of-life" romp, and a sad tragedy. This visually enticing film is perhaps the finest from Jean-Jacques Beineix.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A European Masterpiece

10/10
Author: Paul Sweeney from Dublin, Ireland
2 January 2003

A stunning film which cuts across the entire narrative range from absolute farce to ultimate tragedy. This movie sums up, for me, France; the geography (from the beaches of the Riviera to the streets of Paris)and the people (between Betty's neurotic femininity and Zorg's sullen ennui). Cannot recommend it enough. Unbelievable and shameful that "37°2 le matin" is not available on DVD........

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Very french, the nudity is handled beautifully.

8/10
Author: aman_m
8 September 2005

37.2 Le Matin(Betty Blue) is a brilliant piece of work. Jean-Huhues Anglades' natural performance as Zorg in this easy going - take life as it comes story line makes you want to see more of him. To see someone you love violently erode away is painful and Robins' beautiful camera work with the slow tracking makes the visual experience stimulating. The slow pace of this tale of love and friendship is no cause of concern. Very french, the nudity is handled beautifully. The subtle use of the color yellow is interesting. The film makes you want to be free to live a life of impulse and simplicity. A must watch for the film aficionado.

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