7.7/10
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45 user 53 critic

Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Le souffle au coeur (original title)
As France is nearing the end of the first Indochina War, an open-minded teenage boy finds himself torn between a rebellious urge to discover love, and the ever-present, almost dominating affection of his beloved mother.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writer:

Louis Malle
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lea Massari ... Clara Chevalier
Benoît Ferreux ... Laurent Chevalier
Daniel Gélin ... Charles Chevalier
Michael Lonsdale ... Father Henri
Ave Ninchi ... Augusta
Gila von Weitershausen ... Freda (the prostitute)
Fabien Ferreux Fabien Ferreux ... Thomas
Marc Winocourt Marc Winocourt ... Marc
Micheline Bona Micheline Bona ... Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier ... Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval Liliane Sorval ... Fernande
Corinne Kersten Corinne Kersten ... Daphne
Eric Walter Eric Walter ... Laurent's friend
François Werner François Werner ... Hubert
René Bouloc ... Man at Bastille Day party
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Storyline

This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex, he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A young mother seduces her son.....and it's beautiful! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, Laurent and his friend walk the streets collecting money for charity. Laurent's friend's socks are pushed down, but when they decide to "try somewhere else," the shot of the two walking away shows the socks pulled up. In the next shot, they're down again. See more »

Quotes

Freda: SInce this is your first time, I'll take off my bra. But you'll have to help me put it back on. You think I have a nice figure? Do you like me? I've put on some weight lately. The food's so good around here. I hear your friends are paying for this. Nice of them. Is it your birthday? What soft skin! Softer than mine. You okay? Frightened? Don't you worry. I'm very gentle. Everything will be just fine. Just do as I say. I excite you a little, don't I? Let me lie down and you get on top. Ha-ha. ...
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Connections

Referenced in Sunny Side Up (1994) See more »

User Reviews

 
still overshadowed by controversy
9 December 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

Only in France would an otherwise typical coming-of-age comedy lead up to a tender moment of incest, and perhaps only Louis Malle could have filmed it with such grace, tact, and good humor. The director's adolescent alter-ego is a gangly, jazz-happy son of a wealthy gynecologist, teased by his two older brothers, coddled by his cosmopolitan young mother, and suspicious of his father confessor's less than spiritual attentions. The discovery of a heart murmur sends him and his mother to a distant spa, where fate and nature conspire toward a fleeting indiscretion. But because Malle takes the time to establish his characters, and does so with such obvious affection, the moment is not as racy or obscene as it sounds. Curiously, the young hero's growing pains are also linked to his country's problems in Indochina, so is it any wonder, with the adult world in such turmoil, that a boy would rebel against the conventional wisdom of his elders?


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Details

Official Sites:

Arte boutique [France]

Country:

France | Italy | West Germany

Language:

French | Italian

Release Date:

17 October 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murmur of the Heart See more »

Filming Locations:

Dijon, Côte-d'Or, France See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,160,784

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,160,784
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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