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Les bien-aimés
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Reviews & Ratings for
Beloved More at IMDbPro »Les bien-aimés (original title)

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic, for those who love Honoré's movies

Author: jm10701 from United States
13 December 2012

Let's get the hard part out of the way: most Americans are going to hate this movie, so if you're an American, or if you're not an America but your taste runs toward Hollywood blockbusters, don't waste your time watching Beloved and our time reading about how much you hate it. It's a very serious, complex, slow-moving (almost 2½ hours long, with no more than ten seconds of action), lyrical movie about messed up people who break into song at nearly every opportunity; and they're not typical American show tunes, or hip-hop, or rock in any form at all. Even when some of the lyrics are in English, the songs sound French, and I'm sure to 80% of American ears they all sound the same. Unless that prospect intrigues you, or you're already a Christophe Honoré fan, look elsewhere. You won't like this movie. You'll probably hate this movie. You've been warned - you have no excuse now for watching it and then telling us all how much you hate it.

Now for the easy part, because now I'm talking to people who either already love Christophe Honoré's movies or are open-minded and curious enough to give them a shot. Beloved (thank God they've set that wonderful title free from Oprah's maudlin clutches) fits perfectly in line after his marvelous Chansons d'amour (Love Songs) and haunting La belle personne (The Beautiful Person). Each movie in that trio is more complex than the last, and each one is better than almost any movie made by anybody else. Love Songs, especially, has continued to send unexpected waves of joy rolling my way since I first watched it (I just realized) exactly three years ago today.

Love Songs is special to me in part because the core relationship in it is between two men (I'm gay), and it's probably the sexiest, most beautifully realized gay relationship I've ever seen in a movie. One of the leads in Beloved is gay, but none of the core relationships (there are several - as I said, it's more complex) in this movie is gay. I thought that would be a turn-off, but it's not, and here's why: Chiara Mastroianni.

I've seen Mastroianni before (she has a supporting role in Love Songs), and I've even seen her act with her mother (Catherine Deneuve) before, in André Téchiné's Ma saison préférée (My Favorite Season) nearly 20 years ago. I've never seen her carry a whole movie before, as she does this one - and she's fantastic.

She and the gay man connect, sort of - as much as any two people in this complicated movie connect. Normally I'd really hate that, because I'm so sick of gay men in movies hooking up with women I could pull my hair out. But she's so good in this movie - her Véra is such an appealing and interesting character - that I don't mind. Getting to see how good SHE (Mastroianni) is is worth it.

The rest of the cast is great too. Deneuve gets earthier and more accessible every time I see her, which is good because I couldn't stand the Ice Princess she played for the first several decades of her long career. Either she's opened up a lot in the last 15 years or so or directors are finally discovering how good she is playing other kinds of roles.

Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier (both also in Love Songs), Paul Schneider (an American actor I'd never seen before), and Czech director Milos Forman in an acting role for the first time that I've seen - all are very good.

But the star of any Christophe Honoré movie, for me, is Christophe Honoré himself. He takes conventional movie elements - comedy, drama, romance, character study, music, song and others - and weaves them together in fresh and unconventional ways that yet never seem forced or precocious. I wouldn't try to explain anything he does because I wouldn't know how to. All I know to do with his movies is relax, let go, and let him take me for a ride. It's always worth the risk.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:


Author: jerush from Berkeley, CA
8 August 2012

I was surprised to see that most people across the internet hate this movie. I don't (and I am a recent Film grad, to qualify that). In fact, this is one of the most perfect movies I've ever seen, and one of my top 3 favorite French films. I was incredibly surprised by how long it was. A musical-y epic? But towards the second half I could actually sense how devoted Honore must've been to this movie, and why he didn't want to compromise it by condensing it. I watched this on my laptop logistics-wise, so I didn't have the same experience as someone stuck in a chair in a too-cold theater. The soundtrack? Exquisite. The cast? Perhaps could've been improved upon, but it's the familiar Honore cast and as such carries with it solid chemistry that was essential to the story. It channeled the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with its lovely palette of colors. Yes, it has songs, and *yes* it took creative license. My imagination is vivid, so I didn't have to tax it too much to buy the story. I think the <25 demographic would prefer it more than the 30+.

I feel that people had problems with it because they were expecting a da Vinci, but this is highly Impressionist in spirit.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

nostalgia for the Babyboom-generation

Author: wvisser-leusden from Netherlands
27 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The well-made "Les bien-aimes" (= French for "the well loved-ones") shows a pretty extended plot. Stretching from the 19-Sixties up to 2007, it focuses on the lifetime so far of the baby-boom-generation. Of those born between 1945 and, let's say, 1953.

You may also consider "Les bien-aimes" as an intelligent soap. It contains all ingredients for recognizing a Babyboomer's life. Acted out by a number of France's best actors and actresses, Catherine Deneuve prominently among them.

In spite of its serious tuning, this film nowhere and never puts any weight on your mind. Which is characteristic for the French cinema. Another French characteristic: it leaves you with a good aftertaste.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Splendid Cast, But The Musical is Just Satisfactory!

Author: akash_sebastian from India
4 September 2013

Very rarely are movies made about unrequited (one-sided) love and love lost, let alone musicals. It's good and somewhat interesting; though it tests your patience a lot. With the terrific star-cast it has, I expected a lot more. It falls short of a definite and good plot, and it lacks heart.

Catherine Deneuve is not even utilized properly. Ludivine Sagnier is charming; it's amazing how much she has grown up since Ozon's 'Swimming Pool'. And it was delightful to see Paul Schneider in this French musical. The remaining cast just does their job, which is not much.

Even though it's a musical, the songs are quite average. The only song I actually loved is 'Ici Londres (Heaven Knows)', sung by Chiara Mastroianni and Paul Schneider.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

absolutely beautiful! (:

Author: richwgriffin-227-176635 from United States
25 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I made the mistake of thinking the Sundance channel was showing the excruciating Oprah Winfrey "Beloved" one night and missed this movie as a result. So I had to wait until I could see it on DVD. All I can say is: I simply love Christophe Honore movies (: Is it that he has a gay sensibility? Is it that I love Alex Beaupain's songs? "Love Songs" is one of my all-time favorite films as well, and for many of the same reasons.

The actors in this movie are all simply superb. If I single out Milos Forman it's only because I was so surprised by his acting choices. But the trio of female stars are all wonderful, fresh and amazing. Louis Garrel and the polish actor who plays the younger Jaromil are terrific too. Paul Schneider is an actor I hope to see again in other things.

I found the film exciting, not boring; the camera-work, the editing, the pacing, the music, the colors, even the length of the movie (2 hrs., 19 minutes) exhilarating! This is the kind of film that you have to surrender and allow yourself to be "inside" the movie during it's running time, without reservation.

This is a movie for people who love french cinema, as I do - it's my favorite country, without exception, for movies these days.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful Honoré

Author: audrey lescaux from France
28 June 2013

This film is remarkable.

Beautifully shot, full of inventions, the film is extremely refreshing as most of Honoré's work. The tone is pop and lighthearted, while addressing unconventional subjects, such as elder's sexuality.

The casting is impeccable as always with Honoré. If the duo Deneuve-Sagnier and the depiction of a female character of that generation had a taste of dejà-vu (Ozon? Todd Haynes?), Honoré managed to make it feel like unexplored territory. But that's with Vera's character that Honoré is at its best. Mastroianni is AMAZING!! You've never seen a woman in her late 30's depicted that way in a movie.

The downturn of the film are the singing parts. It really doesn't work and it's even painful to watch. Other than Jacques Demy's films, one can think of Resnais's "On connait la chanson", Ozon's "8 femmes" or Ducastel & Martineau's "Jeanne et le garçon formidable" as examples of the successful mix of serious subject matters and musical. But with Honoré, it doesn't work (with the exception of the elegant telephone scene with Duris and Preiss in "Dans Paris"). It's tempting to just recommend to skip the singing parts as the film is otherwise quite long.

Other than that, the film is a must see.

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Behind the Blue Door . . .

Author: Hot 888 Mama from Jacksonville, FL
14 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

. . . of "young" Madeleine, anything does everything with anything. I wish I could be more specific, but it's obvious that Facebook--even with its 50 new gender\orientation labels announced this week--STILL lags far behind the French cinema in imagining variations of desire and longing. Between BELOVED and last year's sex epic BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, every possible sexual proclivity and\or perversion is covered at least once. BELOVED more aptly could be titled RED SHOES, as "hot" spike heels of that color star at the beginning and ending of this lengthy spelunking expedition through the cavernous Tunnel of Love, turning "young" Madeleine into a whore, and apparently leading her daughter Vera to dance (figuratively, at least) amid the falling ashes of 9-11 victims. I think it was Gertrude Stein who said, "those who can, do; those who can't, sing sad songs in French." Though lovers of plaintive Parisian ballads will award BELOVED with ratings of 8, it's only fair to point out that one-third of this flick involves people wandering actual French city streets at night, wailing out sad ditties about horribly bad sex to anyone within earshot, as a stage spotlight inexplicably follows them along!

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

The Problem With this Film

Author: cmi-573-437033 from United States
4 January 2013

The problem with this film is Christophe Honoré. A 2 and ½ hour film about self-indulgent people explaining why they are unhappy at being self-indulgent. It could have been done one hour shorter. The half musical score is a feeble attempt to be the the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Trying to be French new wave cool instead of being good. I'm convinced Christophe would have tried to make a musical out of Cloud Atlas. I love the cast but after 2 and ½ hours I was wishing they would take an overdose and end my suffering and theirs. Catherine Deneuve, always beautiful and her daughter in film and real life, Chiara Mastroianni, convincing as a seductress, but they were the only high points in the film for me. I rate this film a good sleep aide..

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5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A very flat, two dimensional movie (boring)

Author: tangojazz from San Francisco
21 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very surprised at how dull and lifeless this movie is. The French movies that I have seen in the past are usually very well produced with excellent acting. When I fall asleep in the first 20 minutes of a movie,there is usually something wrong with it(the movie). It is as if the director was trying to tell a grand story about the human condition, but didn't know how to do it. Dull,lifeless and boring. This movie is not representative of the excellent French movie industry as a whole. I especially did not like the singing. There was no buildup to the singing, it was delivered in a very unemotional flat way. I walked out of the movie after 35 minutes in because of the lack of dynamics involved, the actors and actresses in the movie were simply afraid to act.

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7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

my second Honore musical

Author: tim hilton from United States
26 August 2012

Way way way too long. The nearly three hour run-time is longer than all the parking meters in the area of the theater, so i even risked a parking ticket to see the end of this flick! Lots of actors from a previous Honore musical: "Love Songs" (which ran a respectable 100 minutes). Sagnier gets the movie off the ground and then Deneuve sinks it. Mastroianni also greatly helps toward its floundering. I suppose most blame should be heaped on either the director or producers for allowing this thing to go to distribution in its present state. There might be a decent musical in there somewhere. Ludivine Sagnier is one of the many attractive gems of European Leading Ladies of the cinema. She and Isabelle Huppert are my favorite French Actresses nowadays. It's always tricky to cross generational lines and use different actors for the same character in different stages in life. Even the most forgiving viewer might find himself at odds reconciling the tall handsome young "Jaromil" with his older version, regardless of how well and charming the part was played. If you liked "Love Songs" then you will feel at home with the Alex Beaupain score.

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