7.8/10
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38 user 45 critic

Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Le souffle au coeur (original title)
In the end of the first Indochina War, an open-minded teenage boy finds himself between the urge to discover love and the ever-present, dominating affection of his mother.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Clara Chevalier
... Laurent Chevalier
... Charles Chevalier
... Father Henri
Ave Ninchi ... Augusta
... Freda (the prostitute)
Fabien Ferreux ... Thomas
Marc Winocourt ... Marc
Micheline Bona ... Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier ... Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval ... Fernande
Corinne Kersten ... Daphne
Eric Walter
François Werner ... Hubert
... 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 souffle of a movie! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Arte boutique [France]

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murmur of the Heart  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,160,784
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer/director Louis Malle based many aspects of the protagonist Laurent's life on his own experiences growing up. This included his love of jazz, curiosity about literature, the "tyranny" of his two older brothers who tried to introduce him to sex, and having a heart murmur. However, Malle grew up in the 1930's and 40's, not the 50's as Laurent does. See more »

Goofs

During the chess match, the boys are sitting on what should be the spectator sides of the board, rather than the player sides. It appears that the chessmen were set up along the files rather than the ranks. (The lower right hand corner squares are black, when they should be white.) See more »

Quotes

Michel, Laurent's friend: I just read "The Little Prince". Great book, don't you think?
Laurent Chevalier: Not bad. A bit overrated.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Geburtstagskinder der Nouvelle Vague (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Moving, controversial but lovable film
13 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

Louis Malle perhaps has directed his most controversial film about Laurent and his complicated relationship with his mother. Because he is the youngest of three boys, he is still a virgin and coddled like the family baby. The film seems to last forever but in a beautiful moving way. We watch as his beautiful Italian vivacious mother seems to attract admirers even her own son. Without discussing the film's oedipal issues, the film has some very pleasant scenes and some that are not so pleasant. Maybe Malle is trying to bring reality of a young body's sexuality. His two older brothers are not the sympathetic or kind older brothers to him especially. Laurent is truly the film's most important character but his mother is definitely the most important figure in his life. As he comes of age, she has to grasp with losing him to another woman, the inevitable outcome of any mother-son relationship. We learn a lot about Laurent's mother too in this film. While sexuality is another theme in this classic film, there are touching scenes between the Laurent and his mother. As he finds himself attracted to other women, he becomes daring, insulting and even unlikable. I won't give away the ending of this film. But it's worth watching even today more than 30 years later, I cannot believe it's older than me. It seems like it could have been done today and that's why it's a classic film.


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