In All Innocence (1998) Poster

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Guilty Pleasures
writers_reign7 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Gerard Lanvin and Virginie Ledoyen first appeared together in Les Marmottes in 1993 and teamed up again five years later for this remake of Simenon's En Cas de malheur exactly forty years after Jean Gabin and Brigitte Bardot did it first time around. There's not a great deal of originality in the storyline - young, amoral girl seduces middle-aged lawyer, shacks up with him but continues to see her old yobbish boyfriend on the side and, oh, yes, it all ends in tears - but Lanvin and Ledoyen are two of the finest French actors working today and that's before we factor in Carole Bouquet as Lanvin's chic and talented wife, Denis Podalydes as a rival advocate and Francois Berleand, a partner in Lanvin's law firm. Guillaume Canet as Ledoyen's ex who won't let go has a nice line in obnoxious arrogance and makes it easy to despise him. Given the names I've mentioned no one should be surprised that the acting is top-notch if not first rate which means that this is well worth a look.
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These things happen
robert-temple-19 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a steamy, totally engrossing study of 'one of those situations' where a man becomes infatuated with a girl 25 years younger than himself. In this case, the girl is Virginie Ledoyen when she still was a girl, and what a hot number she was too. She manages to do a pole dance around a man, and that takes some writhing. Gérard Lanvin is the unfortunate older man who becomes enmeshed in a web of overwhelming passion at the same time that he is having a mid-life crisis about who he really is. This does not go down well with his wife, played by Carole Bouquet, whose portrayal of a wronged wife seething with jealousy and rage while at the same time deeply in love with the man who has betrayed her is a magnificent performance. When her eyes narrow and become steely, watch out, for she is 'a woman scorned'. This film is based upon a Simenon novel, so it is full of tension and is not at all relaxing to watch, so be prepared. Every minute is full of apprehension. Ledoyen is an amoral, totally feral young girl from Rennes who has never been loved and has moved to Paris where she tries to pay the rent by stealing wallets and petty theft with her equally wild friend Samira, with whom she shares a flat. She likes to party and she loves sex, and can't stop either. She has become involved with a psychopathic boyfriend who is a bartender dealing in drugs under the counter, played by Guillaume Canet. Lanvin is not only infatuated with Ledoyen, he identifies with her, because she comes from the same run-down area called Pantin where he himself grew up, and he feels more authentic and himself by returning to his roots in her company than in continuing to live his life as an extremely rich and successful lawyer in a grand and luxurious house in Paris and a large country home besides. It is all a recipe for inevitable disaster, and the only question is, who will try to kill whom first, and how long we have to wait for it to happen. Pierre Jolivet is the director of this wrenching-and-wenching melodrama tinged with angst and menace. He keeps us on the edges of our seats, teeth clenched, as we observe the spiralings towards disaster. The character of Ledoyen is particularly well conceived, scripted, and portrayed. She makes an abortive visit 'home' to Rennes to attempt to see her mother, whom 'I have not seen in years', despite the fact that she is still only about twenty. She and the boyfriend drive up in a stolen Porsche to the corner house in Rennes only to find it all boarded up, no one having lived there for a long time. Ledoyen retreats to the car, rebuffed and with a grim visage. She makes no attempt to ask any neighbours what has happened to her mother, she just sits there smouldering with rejection, accepting yet another of the incessant blows of Fate to which she clearly believes there is no point in offering any resistance, and she allows herself to be driven away knowing that she will never now find her only relative. Not long afterwards, the crazy boyfriend drives the Porsche into the sea and staggers away across the sands laughing insanely, followed by a bedraggled Ledoyen, who accepts this as normal. In a revealing love scene, Ledoyen says to Lanvin: 'I have never been loved before, until now.' Her unruly and faithless character is thus fully explained. To her, illogicalities such as sleeping with two different men on the same day, do not present themselves to any reasoning faculties of her mind at all. She says naively to the boyfriend: 'When I am with you, I miss him. And when I am with him, I miss you.' That is as far as her powers of rationality can stretch, so damaged is she. She becomes pregnant, though the paternity of the child is, to say the least, up for grabs. The boyfriend becomes a mad stalker of Lanvin and follows him around on his motorbike full of raging violence and the desire for vengeance. Lanvin's law practice is in danger, and his life is close to falling apart. This is a very harrowing tale but very gripping.
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Not un-entertaining French thriller
lazarillo3 March 2013
This is not an un-entertaining French thriller (which isn't QUITE the same thing as being an entertaining French thriller). The story involves a beautiful pick-pocket (Virginie Ledoyen) who steals the wallet from the coat of a lawyer (Michael Lavin) while she and a Moroccan friend are crashing an art party that happens to be for the lawyer's wife (Carole Bouquet). Later she and her friend are unable to pay their rent and decide to hold up a jewelry store with a toy gun. Naturally, this plan goes horribly awry and the pick-pocket finds herself in need of a lawyer, so she calls the guy whose wallet she stole (she didn't have a phone book, I guess). She has no money, but he he agrees to take the case pro boner--er, pro bono--after she shows him her panties. The movie gets pretty predictable for awhile (Will he get her off? Will she get him off?). But there are a few interesting twists in store, some involving a young bartender (Guillame Canet)who perjures himself to give Ledoyen's character an alibi and is very jealous of her relationship with the lawyer.

French movies and Hollywood movies are very different, but one thing they have in common is that they always cast the most beautiful people in the world, even if it sometimes threatens the plausibility of the whole story. It's hard to believe a girl that looks like Ledoyen would ever have to pay her own rent, and if she needed money all she would have to do to is ask just about any guy and he'd gladly give it to her with just the vaguest hope of sex sometime in the indeterminate future. The actress playing the wife meanwhile, Carole Bouquet, is a former Bond girl and ex-wife of Gerard Depardieu. Of course, that doesn't mean her husband wouldn't possibly cheat on her, but it's hard to have much sympathy for him when he does. (If you're unfamiliar with these French actresses, imagine a guy married to an older woman who looks like Sela Ward having an affair with a more voluptuous version of Natalie Portman). Even Guillame Canet, while it's not hard to imagine him being obsessed with Ledoyen, would certainly have A LOT of other female prospects.

That's not to say, necessarily, the acting isn't good. Lavin and Bouquet are quite good. Ledoyen is probably the least talented of her generation of French actresses--Ludivine Sagnier, Isilde Lebesco, Marie Gillain, Roxane Mesquida, Vahina Giocante--but she is certainly not a bad actress by any means, and she is probably the most famous outside of France thanks to her appearance as Leonardo DeCaprio's love interest in "The Beach". Canet, meanwhile, was also in "The Beach", but I haven't seen him much since then. This movie is implausible at times and predictable at others. It won't change your life, but I'm sure you won't regret having watched it either.
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Smashing cautionary tale!
stuka2411 April 2010
In films, as in life, things aren't that complicated. When things start rolling, it usually follows suit and ends well. Whereas when everything gets complicated right from the start... By the way the gripping story is told, how nothing is in vain, and the perfect music that accompanies everything, let alone the 80ish photography, you can tell this film is just everything it was meant to be.

Carole Bouquet's regard, right from the start, knowing and yet forgiving, is worth many cinema tickets. If you think she's just a gelid pretty face like Catherine Deneuve, watch this film. Real classy. Virginie Ledoyen is very natural as a nice, alluring and totally manipulative temptress. So beauty you can hardly blame poor Maitre Lanvin for believing her, for thinking he's really saving somebody out of dejection and being thankful to destiny for "all he had got, with the aid of chance". J.P. Lorit, from the underdog "Seule", has clear intentions right from the start. Would have liked a bit more of "character development" for him. Lanvin is perfectly cast! He's done great comedy like Camping and dramedy "Viens chez moi...", this shows he's good at more serious stuff. Mar Sodupe's wardrobe and hairdo deserve the best for looking the worst :)! She looks like the "very ugly female characters" from any Almodóvar film. Which proves that "good loyal friends come in all shapes & sizes" :). Denis Podalydès is from the Comédie Française, and it shows. He did small successes like "Figaro", in here he is as expressive as anybody can be with his small role of looser turned "defender of true causes". I found Guillaume Canet's character likable and believable in his stupidity (who didn't have an obnoxious high school bully like him?). But, this is the only criticism I can make to the film... isn't him a bit too powerful? Hey, couldn't a big time lawyer like M. Farnese got rid of him, buy him, send some thugs, put him in jail for being a petty dealer? I don't know, if even Martorel (the loosing lawyer) knew... One always has a favourite moment, mine is Bouquet's speech to Martorel when she defends him, after everything everybody knows, with a speech that should be required reading/ viewing for anybody interested in justice and morality, let alone practicing lawyers. And the best line also belongs to her, when they cross at the tribunals: "No, (I didn't get what I wanted.) I just wished you were dead" and she leaves exuding class, like few mortals could do, let alone top models half her age. I agree with IMDb reviewer "jintz" that Ledoyen's character is rather one-dimensional.

Watch it, you'll have fun and see for yourself how dangerous can a sexy kitten be, how stupid do they make us. (Transform the sentence if you are a woman, the rules apply equally for any "Vincent". There are many "Cécile Maudets" in our lives. It's in us to realize they are well, basically incapable of feeling.
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Carole Bouquet - la raison d'etre
aw-614 April 2000
This 1998 film was just released in Singapore (Apr 2000) probably due to Virginia Ledoyen & Guillaume Canet presence in The Beach (the crushing disappointment from the Trainspotting Trio). Anyway, this show stood out due to the presence of Carole Bouquet. What a woman! She commands the scene she is in by her trademark ice cool and chic demeanour. Granted I was more captivated by the way she looked than her acting, which, honestly, was not bad but not staggering. Virginia Ledoyen was ravishing, naturally but if I was the husband, sigh.... I guess there won't be a story then!
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Stupid things men do for beautiful women
El_Chango16 July 1999
This is a film that should have been retitled "Stupid things men do for beautiful women". En plein Coeur is not a great film, but it is enjoyable and has some good moments and great characters, specially the one played by Carole Bouquet, a very good, strong female character, probably the best aspect of this film. Virginie Ledoyen is a beautiful and talented actress, and she proves it here with a good performances, even if the character is less than likeable.
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Limply intriguing
jintz13 May 2002
A tantalising tale of love, lust, betrayal and jealousy, En plein coeur amasses to nothing more than a frustrating folly, more engaged with the grandeur of its own concept than producing any real substance.

A famous Parisian lawyer (Gerard Lanvin) becomes involved with a delinquent shoplifter (Virginie Ledoyen) following her attempt to rob a jewellers with a toy gun. Entranced by her passion and life, the lawyer leaves his chic wife, the timelessly elegant Carole Bouquet, to embark upon an affair so devoid of emotion, that the viewer must wonder whether the director himself needs an alibi.

The cast turn in adequate performances, although special mention should be made to Carole Bouquet's effortlessly aristocratic character who provides all moments of emotion. Simultaneously innocent and wise to her husbands impending betrayal, she forms an intriguing character, too frequently overlooked in favour of the disjointed and superficial Virginie Ledoyen.

En plein coeur is guilty of all the cliches that is normally to be found in North American film. On this occasion it is a French director who believes you should feel moved by the force of the leads passion when he tells his wife he's leaving her for a woman who makes him "feel young again." For me, there is no irony here, polishing and carefully arranging each cliche does not merit praise, only disappointment.
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