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Romance (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  14 April 1999 (France)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 7,707 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 117 user | 73 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

Although deeply in love with her boyfriend - and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him - a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly ... See full summary »



(scenario and dialogue)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sagamore Stévenin ...
Reza Habouhossein ...
Man on stairs
Ashley Wanninger ...
Emma Colberti ...
Fabien de Jomaron ...
Carla ...
Pierre Maufront ...
Antoine Amador ...
Roman Rouzier ...
Echography technician
Oliver Buchette ...
Head doctor (as Olivier Buchette)
Emmanuelle N'Guyen ...
Midwife (as Emmanuelle N'guyen)
Nadia Latoui ...


Although deeply in love with her boyfriend - and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him - a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly frustrated, she gradually finds her sexual appetites leading her into ever more risky situations, including a developing one with the headmaster. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love is desolate. Romance is temporary. Sex is forever.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and strong sexual content including dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 April 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Romance  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$44,829 (USA) (17 September 1999)


$1,282,941 (USA) (12 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is dedicated to actress and director Christine Pascal, who committed suicide in 1996. See more »


At the end of the movie, Marie feels she'll give birth soon, so she tries to wake up Paul. During this scene she moves in a way which is impossible for a woman in her state of pregnancy. See more »


Robert: Sexuality is the clash of triviality and divinity.
See more »


Referenced in Prisoner (2007) See more »


Free your mind and your ass wili follow
Written by George Clinton (as George Clinton Jr)
Performed by Funkadelic
© Copyright Bridgeport Music Inc
Avec l'aimable autorisation de Westbound Records (p) 1970
Heard over the final scenes and end titles
See more »

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User Reviews

A movie about realising identity - not about gender
23 August 1999 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I was very confused at the end of 'Romance' as to whether I liked it or not, and whether I thought it was a good film or not. The best bit for me was probably the Q&A with director Catherine Breillat at the end. She was (especially with the help of a translator) very interesting and articulate - whether one agreed with her or not - and I found the film a valuable commentary on her thoughts rather than the other way round.

The film is confusing; as we are aware, this is not pornography - but what *is* it about? Gender issues? Masochism? The female central character goes through a number of extreme sexual encounters and eventually finds some sense of identity unrelated to her sense of being part of a sexual partnership - although the struggle to find that identity has necessitated exploring her sexual desire. The other issue is censorship, as Breillat has something of a mission to push back censorship; this is related to her philosophical take on sexuality however rather than abolishing censorship for the sake of doing so alone. That which (sexually) disgusts us is twinned to that which (sexually) uplifts - the difference is not in the type of act but in the context - all of which is an extended metaphor on censorship itself. Breillat claims that the acts we find offensive in real life are also the acts we find offensive in images, an idea which in itself can lead to some self-awareness. But to Breillat, sexuality has become stereotyped in films. Show she wants to explore the boundaries and show that those boundaries, in themselves, are not good or bad, just as many acts, stereotyped as disgusting or wonderful, are not so in themselves but only in how we make them.

The degree to which she achieves this in 'Romance' may be the subject of debate for a long time to come. I hope I get the chance to see and study some of her other films. I hope the film is not cut by the censors. As to whether it is a great movie, I am less sure (after a lot of discussion and thought I'm slightly more inclined to say it is than it isn't though!) As I am gradually convinced of the director's unshaking artistic integrity I am more willing to put in the effort to understand her rather complex thought. As her film is her principle expression of this thought I have ranked it quite highly - largely for what she attempts, with whatever success, than what she achieves. As Sartre pointed out, success is more in the journey than the achievement.

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