In All Innocence (1998)
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French movies and Hollywood movies are very different, but one thing they have in common is that they always cast the most beautiful people in the world, even if it sometimes threatens the plausibility of the whole story. It's hard to believe a girl that looks like Ledoyen would ever have to pay her own rent, and if she needed money all she would have to do to is ask just about any guy and he'd gladly give it to her with just the vaguest hope of sex sometime in the indeterminate future. The actress playing the wife meanwhile, Carole Bouquet, is a former Bond girl and ex-wife of Gerard Depardieu. Of course, that doesn't mean her husband wouldn't possibly cheat on her, but it's hard to have much sympathy for him when he does. (If you're unfamiliar with these French actresses, imagine a guy married to an older woman who looks like Sela Ward having an affair with a more voluptuous version of Natalie Portman). Even Guillame Canet, while it's not hard to imagine him being obsessed with Ledoyen, would certainly have A LOT of other female prospects.
That's not to say, necessarily, the acting isn't good. Lavin and Bouquet are quite good. Ledoyen is probably the least talented of her generation of French actresses--Ludivine Sagnier, Isilde Lebesco, Marie Gillain, Roxane Mesquida, Vahina Giocante--but she is certainly not a bad actress by any means, and she is probably the most famous outside of France thanks to her appearance as Leonardo DeCaprio's love interest in "The Beach". Canet, meanwhile, was also in "The Beach", but I haven't seen him much since then. This movie is implausible at times and predictable at others. It won't change your life, but I'm sure you won't regret having watched it either.
Carole Bouquet's regard, right from the start, knowing and yet forgiving, is worth many cinema tickets. If you think she's just a gelid pretty face like Catherine Deneuve, watch this film. Real classy. Virginie Ledoyen is very natural as a nice, alluring and totally manipulative temptress. So beauty you can hardly blame poor Maitre Lanvin for believing her, for thinking he's really saving somebody out of dejection and being thankful to destiny for "all he had got, with the aid of chance". J.P. Lorit, from the underdog "Seule", has clear intentions right from the start. Would have liked a bit more of "character development" for him. Lanvin is perfectly cast! He's done great comedy like Camping and dramedy "Viens chez moi...", this shows he's good at more serious stuff. Mar Sodupe's wardrobe and hairdo deserve the best for looking the worst :)! She looks like the "very ugly female characters" from any Almodóvar film. Which proves that "good loyal friends come in all shapes & sizes" :). Denis Podalydès is from the Comédie Française, and it shows. He did small successes like "Figaro", in here he is as expressive as anybody can be with his small role of looser turned "defender of true causes". I found Guillaume Canet's character likable and believable in his stupidity (who didn't have an obnoxious high school bully like him?). But, this is the only criticism I can make to the film... isn't him a bit too powerful? Hey, couldn't a big time lawyer like M. Farnese got rid of him, buy him, send some thugs, put him in jail for being a petty dealer? I don't know, if even Martorel (the loosing lawyer) knew... One always has a favourite moment, mine is Bouquet's speech to Martorel when she defends him, after everything everybody knows, with a speech that should be required reading/ viewing for anybody interested in justice and morality, let alone practicing lawyers. And the best line also belongs to her, when they cross at the tribunals: "No, (I didn't get what I wanted.) I just wished you were dead" and she leaves exuding class, like few mortals could do, let alone top models half her age. I agree with IMDb reviewer "jintz" that Ledoyen's character is rather one-dimensional.
Watch it, you'll have fun and see for yourself how dangerous can a sexy kitten be, how stupid do they make us. (Transform the sentence if you are a woman, the rules apply equally for any "Vincent". There are many "Cécile Maudets" in our lives. It's in us to realize they are well, basically incapable of feeling.
A famous Parisian lawyer (Gerard Lanvin) becomes involved with a delinquent shoplifter (Virginie Ledoyen) following her attempt to rob a jewellers with a toy gun. Entranced by her passion and life, the lawyer leaves his chic wife, the timelessly elegant Carole Bouquet, to embark upon an affair so devoid of emotion, that the viewer must wonder whether the director himself needs an alibi.
The cast turn in adequate performances, although special mention should be made to Carole Bouquet's effortlessly aristocratic character who provides all moments of emotion. Simultaneously innocent and wise to her husbands impending betrayal, she forms an intriguing character, too frequently overlooked in favour of the disjointed and superficial Virginie Ledoyen.
En plein coeur is guilty of all the cliches that is normally to be found in North American film. On this occasion it is a French director who believes you should feel moved by the force of the leads passion when he tells his wife he's leaving her for a woman who makes him "feel young again." For me, there is no irony here, polishing and carefully arranging each cliche does not merit praise, only disappointment.