The Lover (1992)
"L'amant" (original title)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  30 October 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 14,139 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 29 critic

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.


(based on the novel), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Mother
Arnaud Giovaninetti ...
The Younger Brother
Helene Lagonelle
Xiem Mang ...
The Chinaman's Father
Philippe Le Dem ...
The French Teacher
Ann Schaufuss ...
Quach Van An ...
The Driver
Tania Torrens ...
The Principal
Raymonde Heudeline ...
The Writer (end)
Yvonne Wingerter ...
The Writer (beginning)
Do Minh Vien ...
Hélène Patarot ...
The Assistant Mistress


It is French Colonial Vietnam in 1929. A young French girl from a family that is having some monetary difficulties is returning to boarding school. She is alone on public transportation when she catches the eye of a wealthy Chinese businessman. He offers her a ride into town in the back of his chauffeured sedan, and sparks fly. Can the torrid affair that ensues between them overcome the class restrictions and social mores of that time? Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Maugerite Duras. Written by Cal Lott <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She gave her innocence, her passion, her body. The one thing she couldn't give was her love.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R on appeal for graphic and explicit sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

30 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lover  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,899,194 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Duras' real Chinese lover was called Lee. See more »


Her lover smokes filtered cigarettes in 1929. They were not invented until the mid-'30s and not in common use until the 1950s. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Very early in my life, it was too late. At eighteen it was already too late. At eighteen I aged. This aging was brutal. This aging, I saw it spread over my features, one by one. Instead of being frightened by it, I saw this aging of my face with the same sort of interest I might have taken for example in the reading of a book. That new face I kept it. It's kept the same contours, but its matter is destroyed. I have a destroyed face. Let me tell you again: I'm fifteen and a half. ...
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Waltz in B minor Opus 69 No. 2
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User Reviews

One of the greatest films about sexual awakening
2 June 2000 | by (Boston, Mass) – See all my reviews

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of Marguerite Duras, who was born in French colonial Vietnam, this film chronicles the sexual awakening of a young French girl who falls passionately in love with a Chinese scion of a rich trading family who have his marriage already arranged. They make love passionately in a way which more truthful than is usual on the screen. This film is intensely visual, written by a major French script writer, Gerard Brach, and narrated by the powerful world weary voice of Jeanne Moreau. If you have experienced consuming sexual passion and the pain which it can engender, you will understand this film. If you haven't, this film will give you that vicarious experience. It is all the more truthful because although the relationship is interracial, the passion transcends, whereas the cultural differences block the fulfilment of their true love. It is about how people miss love trapped by convention and common sense. This is a flawless film, beautifully shot--a minor classic, much under-appreciated.

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