|Index||4 reviews in total|
A film that delivers both great one-liners and appealing characters, Voyous Voyelles makes for a wonderful movie. Director Serge Meynard makes the film look simple. The appearance somewhat gives it the impression of being bland, but he makes up for it with an interesting plot sometimes resulting in unusual circumstances. Although the anomalous situations tends to diverge from practicality. Meynard focuses heavily on the characters, the very strength and fiber of the film, and not to mention, that they're played nicely by attention-grabbing actresses. Audrey Tautou, the star of `Amelie' is comical in a sardonic way (as is the case playing a rich girl scorned by an older man), and her counterparts, Olivia Bonamy and Axelle Ade-Pasdeloup are convincing in their roles as mischievous sisters coping after the death of their father by stealing and conning people. The three girls are a riot act and their growing relationships to one another is touching. The sisters having to find closure of their father's death and having to start (reluctantly) a relationship with their mother's newfound love is undoubtedly poignant. With all this, however, Voyous Voyelles is a flawed film. It doesn't seem to have the depth that it could have. It also feels lengthy, somewhat dragging at times. The music isn't something to praise, not surprisingly, but better chosen pieces would have helped enhance the film. In short, Voyous Voyelles isn't an enduring film. There's nothing note-worthy about it, but it is an enjoyable, delightful film.
During the 70's France made dozens of teen comedies that US production
of any decade can only dream about. They often took place in
classrooms, because that's where teenagers spend (or at least should
spend) most of their time. Even US teen movies admitted that teens were
still going to school in that years, but it seems Grease-time is behind
us. Today teen hits don't even mention schools, teens are on streets,
on parties, on drugs and on each other. French didn't avoid sex themes,
often showed them more open and even explicit, the way Hollywood
authors never did (or weren't let to), and yet it all looked natural,
realistic in all its fun and humour, never seemed to be dirty, never
made adult public seem uncomfortable. Some of these movies had even
serious background (war in Les turlupins, divorce in La boom in early
80's etc), some were basically dramas (Diabolo men the) but still full
of fun, humour and some life optimism.
Today French film isn't so playful any more. It became more adult even when dealing with teens. The times are hard for all of us, and teenagers feel it. They have new problems, or the old problems are more open and we make the teenagers feel them. So the moves became darker and bleaker (Petits freres, Ça s'appelle grandir). Even if humour is included, and some of the scenes remind us on that comedies that look ages old (so much our world has changed), we still can't be sure if this movie is a comedy at all, and if it's made for teens or adults. Probably the teenagers are more mature, and can cope the way movie has been made the same way as adults do. The world is more bitter, so the humour changes the same way (yet never becomes rude, vulgar, body-functional as in Hollywood blockbusters). And now even in these movies school isn't the main place, because the greatest problems are not related to school any more. Some of kids ended their schooling and now are unemployed, some ran away from the school and families, or even if they are on holidays their life is more miserable than during school lessons. What did we do with this world? 'Voyous voyelles' have been made only two decades after 'Sous-doués', and it looks as if it came from another solar system.
It's not a masterpiece, but it is good enough to be recommended to everyone except those who think the only world exists in American Pies, Scary Movies and Speeds. Audrey Tautou, a star of overrated 'Amelie', (a movie I feel gets good rating for the idea and what it could have been more than for what it is) plays a disturbed girl on the edge of suicide, Bonamy and Ade-Pasdeloup are even more interesting characters living on the edge of town, of society, of family. They help Tautou, though you can't tell who needs more help. There are moments recalling legendary 'Only Fools And Horses' - the environment, little frauds, relations between sisters whose age difference is big enough (like Trotters) that the older sibling takes care and influences on younger one more than parents (dead in serial, non-functional in movie). And there is a sadness in the laughter similar to later episodes of '...horses'. But otherwise this movie is French, in the best meaning of the word.
While I am a huge fan of French films, I really had to struggle to watch this film. That's because the film had one problem that is insurmountable for me. There are three leading teenage characters and none of them are particularly likable. Audrey Tautou is a whiny and needy young lady. In some ways you feel sorry for her, but often I found myself wanting to shout "grow up!" at her. As for her two new friends, these sisters are thieves. The younger has some redeeming qualities, but not many. The older is just nasty. So, given that you can't really like the women in the film, you are left wondering why--"why am I bothering to watch this film?". Well, after a while, I found myself asking the same thing. Despite Ms. Tautou doing some wonderful films, this is not one of them.
Voyous voyelles is a quite dull meditation on the affect that absent father's have on the lives of three girls. They film is not really realistic as the rebellious crimes two of the girls are involved with don't really seem to carry much authenticity and they seem merely functional to the theme. Nevertheless there are some french beauties in the film, Audrey Tatou looks as radiant and adorable as ever and she does a reasonable job with her character. Though, as a whole, the film seems to be a whole lot of nothing.
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