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Paul and Agnes have been going out for quite a while and Agnes is shocked to learn that he'd rather live with two roommates on campus than move in with her. As soon as he meets one of his roommates, Louis-Anault, Paul's behavior changes - he is attracted to Louis without realizing so himself. Agnes, on the other hand, gets quite jealous and offers a bet: Whoever gets to have Louis-Anault first, wins... If she does, Paul will no longer explore his homosexual desires, if he does - she'll walk away. Meanwhile, Paul meets Mecir, a young Arab worker, who shows him there's more to life than elite colleges... Written by
For me the human story trumps the overblown philosophizing
The production values aren't the best in this film, but one rarely expects better of a film festival entry. Seeing beyond that is what festival fare is all about, in my opinion.
Tha said, I was easily taken in by Paul and his emotional struggle. At first, I was put off by the ambivalent and quirky behavior of Paul and the others, but I began to recognize that this was a representation of the nuances of real life, as opposed to the packaged fare that Hollywood usually dishes out. What another reviewer found confusing to me was an invitation to get inside the heads of characters who, like real people, weren't exactly sure what they wanted or who they were trying to be.
The relationships were complex and yes, frustrating to figure out at times. But the acting was good--complexity is mush harder to convey than the broad-brush emotion that Hollywood paints larger than life. I loved Mecir--superbly acted--his earnestness nearly brought me to tears. I thought the ultimate outcome of Paul's relationship with him (and with Agnes) mirrored real life as well. And just when I thought Arnault was a shallow caricature, the character surprised me with intelligence (if cynical) and depth.
I agree that the third roommate (name?) disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the film; it had seemed he would play a greater role at the outset. The peripheral characters were neither well developed nor exceptionally acted, but are no reason to dis the film.
The film was marred for me by the extremely self-conscious and forced 3-minute conversation near the end about class struggle, corporate greed, etc. I liked these themes in the film, but this Cliff-Notes style summation was so artificial that I--and the audience I was with--laughed out loud at every pontification, each more hysterical than the last. My immediate comment was "it's like a French parody of the French!" Profound thoughts and deep convictions, spewed with piercing emotion--ultimately lasting as long as a cigarette and washed away with a glass of Bordeaux.
Except for that camp exchange, I very much enjoyed the movie and would see it again.
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