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In Paris outskirts Blanche, a young clerk, befriends Lea, a girl livelier than she is. Lea is going steady with Fabien who is a friend to Alexandre who is going steady with Adrienne but is however loved by Blanche. Somehow a way has to be found to get out of this emotional chaos!Written by
Salvatore Santangelo <email@example.com>
I'm surprised at the 7.5 rating for "Boyfriends and Girlfriends." Of the 6-7 Rohmer films I've seen this is undoubtedly the worst. It is true that the characters come alive in the last part of the film but it's too little too late. For its standard assumptions and stale premises have already taken their toll on it. (however, kudos to the cinematography and evocation of place)
Of the five main characters, Alexandre is the least fabricated. Although meant to be rather detestable, he possesses the most individual identity. He has a smaller role, but his is the most interesting, the least wobbly, and the most real--and for these reasons, emerges as the most likable. True, one isn't expected to like--or dislike Rohmer characters, and yet they're often interesting and certainly worth hearing and comprehending--and some do have real dimensions. And in this, perhaps his most realistic endeavor, shouldn't we expect even more actual character?
The three females roles are the most scripted. I know they're supposed to be represent flat yuppie types but this approach is more patronizing than honest. Lea and especially Blanche, promise far more in the first scenes than they are subsequently allowed to give. Why reign them in? Why immediately tie them down to men, to romance, to the endless prattle about love, match-making, and daydreams? Can they be given just a few ounces of self-direction? I mean, Blanche, at 24, has a career job, but why bother to even tell us that---she bounces from one man to another, and her cloying uncertainties and confessional style belie her screen presence. As does her falling for Alexandre, which is even more incomprehensible to the viewer than it is to Lea and Fabien. It's as if Rohmer's Blanche "falls" in love, but Blanche's Blanche would never "fall" in love. And yet that's about her only shown capacity--apart from wind surfing--in this, her central role.
Lea and Adrienne are even more annoying. Love seems to be their single occupation. They are shallow, cattish, malicious, gossipy, and vacuous. Since there are three women for two men in this incestuous world, one has to be get lost--and the least pretty does, making an early exit. Indeed, Adrienne is given no redeeming qualities--and Lea has very few, the storybook ending bailing her out a wee bit. So, instead of being Rohmer's usual naive or not so naive leggy sirens, they get to be small-minded--it's either Alexandre or Fabien-- bitchy dolts.
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