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In this adaptation of Françoise Sagan's best selling novel, Paula is a beautiful and highly successful 40-year-old businesswoman. She is deeply in love with Roger, her mature consort of five years. Roger is a very charming gallant who loves Paula but is too selfish to give up his freedom to be promiscuous. When Paula meets Phillip, the 24-year-old immature lawyer son of one of her rich clients, he falls hopelessly in love with the glamorous, sympathetic older woman and insists that the age difference will be no barrier to a romance. Paula resists the young man's persistent advances, but she finally succumbs when Roger initiates yet another affair with one of his young Maisies. An affair begins, and society does not approve.Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
Came in on this 30 minutes late yesterday, with no adolescent experience from yesteryear to back reference, I found it amazingly sappy, and inexplicably magnetic. I couldn't believe I would watch the rest, but did! Perhaps it's Paris, perhaps it's Bergman's effortless magnetism. It's not that she's so lovely or desirable--it's that she's so honest.
An actress of this much grace is worthy of something more useful than the milksop of Anthony Perkins as Philip. Sure, he's supposed to be dense, naive and a mama's-boy. And at this point in time Perkins was being worked as a leading man he never became. For good reason. There's no substantive distinction between this role and his role in Psycho. Opaque. His smile/smirk frozen, false and inscrutable. In initial courting he really does come off more oppressive and menacing than lovelorn. The "light switch" scene: I'm not sure if he's going to kiss her or kill her.
Oh, if only they had cast a believable actor. The scenes where he stops going to work have no veracity at all. He is a wooden marionette. Montand does his Montand thing but it's direct and simple anyway. No significant hopeful would have taken the second role of dumpee, but if Philip had been played by a young Redford-type this movie could have been much more.
I've loved that Brahms piece for years so it was amazing to hear it singled out with such fury as a plot element, and the continual thematic variations in the background. A bit heavy- handed but appreciated.
Many of the last few scenes are just delicious. The "viewed-from across the floor" scene during Philips resignation celebration was completely believable, despite it's melodrama. And that hang-dog look that Bergman gets--who could guess she could wear that kabuki mask believably!?
The real gems are all in the last 15 minutes. The ending itself is stunningly modern for the tone of this movie. Honest and direct and unflinching. I had heard of the make-up removal scene before but it was beautiful to watch.
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