6.1/10
117
2 user 3 critic

A Song of Innocence (2005)

La ravisseuse (original title)
Set in 1877, Julien and his wife Charlotte welcoming their infant daughter home. It was a difficult delivery for Charlotte, and since ambitious Julien is always away at work, the couple agree to bring in Angele-Marie as a wet nurse.

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Cast

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Angèle-Marie
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Charlotte
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Julien
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Léonce
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Rodolphe
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Jacques
Christian Gasc ...
Le couturier
Aude Briant ...
Anna Devillers
Bernard Nissile ...
Henri Blanchard
Claudie Guillot ...
Henriette Blanchard
Edith Perret ...
Marguerite Orcus
Emmanuel Leconte ...
Armand de Teil
Antonio Cauchois ...
M. de Teil
Pierre Thoretton ...
Le photographe
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Set in 1877, Julien and his wife Charlotte welcoming their infant daughter home. It was a difficult delivery for Charlotte, and since ambitious Julien is always away at work, the couple agree to bring in Angele-Marie as a wet nurse.

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31 August 2005 (France)  »

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A Song of Innocence  »

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Very good movie with some rather ironic flaws
27 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

Just prior to the French Revolution, a poor peasant woman (Isild Lebesco) arrives at a wealthy estate to "wet nurse"--care for and actually breast feed--the new-born infant of a more privileged and spoiled young woman (Emilie Dequenne). The peasant woman has just given birth herself, but has to send her own son off to the impoverished countryside where a cholera epidemic is raging. The new mother meanwhile is estranged from her new husband (being from a poor but proud noble family herself) and takes the nursemaid into her confidence. She is not a dislikeable character, but she is very young and naive (much like the historical Marie-Antoinette) and unprepared for her role as wife and mother, and she soon crosses the forbidden class boundaries with her new "friend". This raises the ire of her husband (Gregoire Colin)who is generally an unsympathetic brute who tries to rape his frigid wife and indulges in lurid sex fantasies involving the lactating young nurse. The maid meanwhile begins to adopt the slogans of the coming revolution as the whole story spirals towards tragedy.

This does somewhat resemble the "murderous maids" story that has inspired any number of other French and British films. But that story was based on the real-life 20th century Papin sisters, while this movie--given it's time period--is a much more a microcosm of the French Revolution where both class and (to a much lesser extent)gender politics exploded. The movie is well-made and impeccably acted. There are only a couple problems with it. First, Isild Lebesco and Emilie Dequenne are such incredibly beautiful women (who never have their hair or make-up out of place) that it's sometimes hard to buy them as the wretched characters they portray, no matter how superb their acting. And while this is not one of Lebesco's more erotic roles (unless lactation and breast-feeding really turn you on), it is a little distracting just how much she has her breasts exposed. Even when she's not breast feeding infants--or offering to breast-feed adults--she's wearing those ridiculously low-cut 18th century peasant dresses. Basically, she makes it very hard too look this movie in the eye. I've always thought Lebesco should win some kind of special award for displaying her beautiful nude body in practically every role AND being a truly talented actress (some other nominees in that category would be Kate Winslet, Eva Green, and Juno Temple). But, unlike in a lot her other roles, the two things are kind of at cross purposes here.

This is a very good movie that, rather ironically, is only stopped from being a great movie by the sheer beauty and sexiness of its two female leads. But I guess that's a pretty dumb thing to complain about. . .


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