Fortunately, with Les plus belles années d'une vie (2019), Claude Lelouch did not miss his shot. We quickly fall under the spell felt by viewing A man and a woman. Trintignant and Aimée are now 88 and 86 respectively. Trintignant's character is impotent, body and mind. Aimée's character is vibrant and wants to remain so. The characters are rejuvenated by frequent flashbacks, just enough, not too much. They make little escapades that are sometimes dreams, sometimes real outings; it's an existence in the context of a retirement home. But the warmth of their love pierces the screen. If they were 20, maybe 10 years younger, they would relive their embrace in room 26 of a certain hotel in Deauville. Old, they have the chance to relive their love for the last segment of their existence.
We loved A man and a woman because in that film done with no budget and with a single hand-held camera, we were deeply attached to characters who lived a love story that was simple and sublime at the same time. We love The Best Years of a Life because, with emotion, we remember that attachment.
And we realize with equal emotion that Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée are probably playing in their ultimate film, on a twilight background. Jean-Louis and Anouk, we love you.
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