7.8/10
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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
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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:
Lea Massari ... Clara Chevalier
Benoît Ferreux ... Laurent Chevalier
Daniel Gélin ... Charles Chevalier
Michael Lonsdale ... Father Henri
Ave Ninchi 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 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 souffle of a movie! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Freda: Come here and I'll wash you.
Laurent Chevalier: I washed before I came.
Freda: Come on. You're cute, you know that? You're big for your age. You're raring to go, I see. Dry off, sweetie.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sunny Side Up (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a beautiful coming of age story
30 June 2001 | by zetesSee all my reviews

There have been a million coming of age stories in the history of the world, most of them probably in the film medium. What a pathetic thing to have to endure something as trite as the American film American Pie when something like The 400 Blows exists. Murmur of the Heart will remind most of that classic, and, akin to French films such as Zero for Conduct, The 400 Blows, and Malle's own Au Revoir Les Enfantes, it is excellently acted, both by the adults in the film and the children (here, though, they're teens), and it is infinitely more truthful than most American films of the same genre. Murmur of the Heart falls just short of The 400 Blows, but it is a worthy successor to it. Beware, though. This film's main theme is sexuality, and there are some very disturbing scenes, even thought the mood of the film is quite light-hearted. 9/10


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