Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir -- son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste -- returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his ...
See full summary »
Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir -- son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste -- returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his side is Andrée, a young woman who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son. Written by
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Official submission of France to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »
The second time Renoir draws Andrée, after sending Coco/Claude away, the shot of Andree topless goes back and forth, each time her hair changes from draped over her front to behind her back. It is so obvious it's hard to believe anyone missed it. See more »
This is without question one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The photography, especially the scenes outdoors, looks like one early Renoir painting after the next. The colors are vivid and lush, and the greens are varied to the nth degree. You could watch this movie with the sound turned off and still have a great time.
Which is not to say that the script and acting are not worth paying attention to. The story is nothing special: During the last years of his life, during World War I, Renoir lived in the South of France, to avoid the German invaders. There he paints a beautiful young woman, whom we get to see in the altogether rather often, to pleasing effect. (The movie never explores the extent to which this has an erotic aspect for Renoir, but since it is made clear that he ended up sleeping with his previous models, we can assume that. He is not just painting rose and pink. He keeps emphasizing that he is painting flesh.) His middle son, Jean (who will be the famous French film director down the road), comes home from the war on sick leave and eventually falls in love with the new model. That doesn't go particularly well, as she doesn't seem very committed to monogamy with him.
The youngest son, Claude (named after Monet), doesn't deal well with his Mother's recent death, or his distant relationship with Renoir. That doesn't get explored very deeply either.
So, in effect, the story threads are handled very Impressionistically as well: little touches of them here and there, but no detailed analysis.
The music is often very beautiful, so don't turn off the sound.
Don't expect great drama here. The acting is all fine, but there are no in-depth character portraits here - as there are not in Renoir's paintings - and no real drama. It is all very impressionistic, and often in a very beautiful way.
See this in a theater if you can. I suspect it will lose a lot reduced to even a 64" TV screen.
I just saw it for a second time, this time on my 46" TV screen. Yes, it does lose a lot, but the color and light are still beautiful. It's a must see movie, but as I wrote before, don't expect much in the way of drama.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?