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Le grand chemin (1987)
I do not try to persuade friends, family, lovers that this is an exceptional movie. I let them watch it and if they emotionally and intellectually respond to the movie, then they have entered my intimate world.
If you were to pause the movie during Pelo and Louis' fishing trip when they meet Froggy Mary, it would be a photograph that captures stunning, rural beauty. The slow deliberate piano corresponds ravishingly with the setting. This nervous, cautious city boy is deposited in the home of Marcel and Pelo and their battle of wills. The magnificent tree allows the city boy and the worldly but rural Martine to eavesdrop and categorize the world around them. There is such subtle commentary in the movie like the doctor driving to the death in the peugot and the priest following on the bicycle. Science trumps religion in France. And this is combined with perfect acting by the four main actors.
Why do I like this movie so much? Is it because it captures the fears and escapism of childhood? Or is it an appeal to my leanings of Jeffersonian romanticism? Is it because the power of being yourself can make a positive difference in people's lives? Yes to all. I will always carry this movie with me as it has deepened me. I no longer worry about what could have happened and am now grateful for what has happened.
'Friends' pales by comparison
Coupling manages to be consistently funny in large part because of it's superb writing and timely acting. It is inevitably compared to Friends because of the three guys and three gals, but I think it is more similar to Seinfeld. Jeff and George are two of the most superb ne'er-do-well's in TV history. Jane is as 'out there' as Kramer. Steve, a better actor is comparable to Jerry in being the straight man. Susan as ubermensch is on a par with Elaine. The shows share something else, they are damn funny.
To me, Friends seems to be all about marketing--let's see you've got three overly attractive, quirky, but non-threatening males and three overly attractive, quirky, but non-threatening females. The writers diminish characters outside the group in order to magnify the Friends characters. And then rely on the rich vault of American sit-com history for comedy-dramatic lust/love relationships between first Ross and Rachel and then when that peters out, Chandler and Monica. What's next the match-up between wacky, but sweet Phoebe and dopey, but well-meaning Joey? There are some funny moments and some funny episodes and it's better than most American prime time shows, but it's so, ho-hum.
I understand the complaints about Coupling being only about sex, but it's also about Jane's inability to cope with her ex's new romantic relationship and her general insecurity. A character (Patrick)who unequivocally believes in right wing politics and the sexual politics that result from that attitude. A character (Jeff) who is so warped by "thoughts of nudity" that he can't hold a conversation with a female.
It is also about an alpha female (Susan) and her relationship with a beta male (Steve) who tries to establish his identity between boyfriendhood and independent malehood. All the characters deal with the issue of aging (gee what a non-Friends-ly issue that is). So, yes Coupling is primarily about sex, but perhaps, perhaps, perhaps it's also about humanity.