Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14-year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab, unhappy home life. His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen. His parents bicker constantly and he knows his mother is having an affair. He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and theft. His parents are at their wits' end, and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing would be to let Antoine face the consequences. He's sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn't do much better. He does manage to escape however.Written by
Memorable Story With Thoughtful Direction By Truffaut
The memorable story of young, troubled Antoine is worth seeing for a good number of reasons, probably most of all for the thoughtful direction by François Truffaut. It stands out from most other movies about troubled youths, both in the way that it portrays the main character and in making such good use of seemingly minor events in showing how they shape Antoine's life.
As Antoine, Jean-Pierre Léaud (in the role with which he would always be identified) strikes a nice balance in making his character come to life without making any of his actions seem forced or over-dramatic. Truffaut sets things up for him perfectly, by presenting a great variety of situations in his life that allow Antoine's character to come out naturally. Many of the settings are in themselves interesting and creative, despite being located in familiar types of places.
The story is written carefully so as to allow the viewer to identify with and sympathize with Antoine, while still seeing his faults clearly. What is often the most affecting thing about it is the way that Truffaut shows how even the most commonplace kinds of events can have such an effect on a maturing person, if they are a source of disappointed expectations or misunderstood intentions. To make this kind of movie so effectively without relying on violent or shocking material is an admirable achievement, and it repays careful thought and attention while watching it.
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