7.2/10
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The Lovers (1958)

Les amants (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 26 October 1959 (USA)
Saddled with a dull husband and a foolish lover, a woman has an affair with a stranger.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writer:

Louise de Vilmorin (dialogue)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanne Moreau ... Jeanne Tournier
Jean-Marc Bory ... Bernard Dubois-Lambert
Judith Magre ... Maggy Thiebaut-Leroy
José Luis de Vilallonga ... Raoul Florès (as José Villalonga)
Gaston Modot ... Coudray
Pierre Frag Pierre Frag
Michèle Girardon ... Hélène Cavalier
Gib Grossac Gib Grossac
Lucienne Hamon Lucienne Hamon ... Chantal
Georgette Lobre Georgette Lobre ... Marthe
Claude Mansard Claude Mansard ... Marcelot (as Claude Mansart)
Alain Cuny ... Henri Tournier
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Storyline

Bored with her husband, bored with her polo-playing lover, will the middle-aged heroine go away with the young man who gave her a lift that day when her car broke down on the way back to her country estate from a weekend with her lover in Paris? Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most talked-about and fought-about film! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

26 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lovers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Québec)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Cartre De Tendre" map used under the opening credits,a kind of map of the geography of Love,was the creation of the 17th Century French philosopher Madeleine De Scudery. See more »

Quotes

Jeanne Tournier: You seem sad. What's wrong?
Raoul Florès: I'm jealous that you're going home tomorrow to your life, your husband.
Jeanne Tournier: Let's not speak of him.
Raoul Florès: I think I'll move to Dijon and sneak into your room at night like a thief.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Alex in Wonderland (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Streichsextett No. 1
(uncredited)
Op.18: Movement II--Andante ma moderato
Music by Johannes Brahms
Conducted by Serge Baudo
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Biting Romantic Drama Which Has Yet to Garner an Expiration Date
2 February 2009 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

In this, director Louis Malle's second film, which for awhile seems like it will be another high society soap opera, a seemingly arbitrary plot detour occurs that places the beautiful Jeanne Moreau in a situation all the less convenient and all the more frustrating because of how accustomed she has become to her privilege. Consequently, Moreau is less like a Sex and the City character and more of a realization that a social ladder does not leave problems below it. They follow you from decision to decision to decision. And the further up it she climbs, the less considerate her decisions seem to be of the world outside of herself.

As a 25-year-old French director at the dawn of the New Wave, he was not alone in satirizing and criticizing the bourgeoisie. Ironically, being younger than fellow Nouveau filmmakers Godard and Truffaut, as well as having been born into a wealthy industrialist family, had no hand in blinding him by way of his privileged ego. Watching this biting romantic drama about adultery and the reality and illusion of rediscovering love, I see that Malle understood the upper-class freedom of never having to worry about tomorrow, and not only does he characterize it with an almost humorously frustrating edge, he wisely satirizes love at first sight.

The movie was made in 1958, but Malle's style has yet to garner an expiration date. There are no outdated lap dissolves or screen wipes or quick fade-outs. The controversy at the time surrounding this film's alleged obscenity had a rebounding effect on the flimsy subjectivity of society's accusations. He was simply being honest, which he is in the aforementioned portrayals beyond the simple night of passionate love Moreau has with her lover. Instead of a coy imitation of a spectator blushing and looking away, as many other films did and still do when the camera moves to the window or the ceiling, Malle fixates on her ecstasy. Even now, rarely do we see a close shot of a woman's sexual pleasure.

A bit like Woody Allen would come to do in a few decades, Malle tends to saturate his soundtracks with a single composer. Here, it is Johannes Brahms, whose music is a brilliantly and acutely intuitive choice for the film since, much like the characters, he has a classical sense of form and order yet he's bold in his exploration of harmony and rhythm.


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