A GOOD MARRIAGE (LE BEAU MARIAGE)
(director/writer: Eric Rohmer; cinematographers: Bernard Lutic/Romain Winding/Nicolas Brunet; editors: Cecile Decugis/Lisa Heredia; music: Ronan Girre/Simon des Innocents; cast: Béatrice Romand (Sabine), André Dussollier (Edmond), Féodor Atkine (Simon), Arielle Dombasle (Clarisse), Huguette Faget (Antique dealer), Thamila Mezbah (Mother of Sabine), Sophie Renoir (Lise); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Margaret Menegoz; Fox Lorber; 1982-)
“It’s the kind of soft film that Chabrol would turn into a thriller, while smearing the bourgeois lifestyle.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Eric Rohmer (“My Night at Maud’s”/”Claire’s Knee“/”Pauline at the Beach“) is writer-director in the second of his series of‘Comedies and Proverbs.’ It’s a slight but charming comedy of manners, that plays out as a moral cautionary tale in regards to an ideal marriage–with the filmmaker determined to show that you can’t force love (marriage) through an act of will.The irony for its free-spirited heroine, Sabine (Béatrice Romand), is that she’s seeking to be liberated by choosing to be locked into an old-fashioned marriage.
Sabine is an immature 25-year-old art history student, who lives in Le Mans with her widowed mother (Thamila Mezbah) and her more sociable younger sister Lise (Sophie Renoir).She works as a salesgirl in the local antique shop, but will soon quit that job over a spat with the owner. The impetuous Sabine breaks up with her married artist lover (Féodor Atkine) and tells her happily married nosy artist best friend Clarisse (Arielle Dombasle) she wants to get married. At a wedding reception, Sabine meets Clarisse’s eligible bachelor cousin. He’s a wealthy and handsome 35-year-old Parisian lawyer named Edmond (André Dussollier), and with her feminine wiles sets out to snare the unwilling prize as her husband. The busy lawyer never develops any chemistry with the aggressive no-nonsense Sabine, and she ends up being humiliated upon his rejection. But the confused young lady quickly rebounds, as we last see her on a train being eyeballed by a handsome young man.
It’s a typical Rohmer film, so it’s talky. How insightful it is, is debatable. But it’s well-acted, amusing and endearing. It’s the kind of soft film that Chabrol would turn into a thriller, while smearing the bourgeois lifestyle.
REVIEWED ON 6/7/2010 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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