La Vie En Rose Olivier Dahan

La Vie En Rose Olivier Dahan

No matter who bio-pics are about, they’re all pretty much the same: rise from adversity, amazing achievement, terrible complication, etc. But applying the formula to the life of Edith Piaf, the legendary French singer/icon, yields even less dividends than it would to most others. Piaf (played with heroic intensity by Marion Cotillard) lived a life of poverty, parental abandonment, thwarted love, dead lovers and addiction — story enough for a hundred lives, but easy enough to reduce to a series of random traumas that do nothing but make you root for a cliché notion of a victim and a "survivor.” Thus Piaf’s rise from penniless busker (after a childhood shuttling between a whorehouse and the circus) to national treasure and world citizen proves to be shock after shock after shock, and not in a good way. One is so bombarded by suffering without perspective that after a while you start to get annoyed and hope that the filmmakers might impose some kind of theme or order on the parade of unpleasantness. But while director Olivier Dahan employs a needlessly tricky flashback structure, the approach doesn’t do anything but confuse us — wrenching moments from their context, it just makes the film seem even more like a miserable barrage. I’m all for depressing movies but you have to have some reason for the sadness, and the movie so wallows in it that it fails to come up with anything solid. Factor in the classy quality-movie sheen and you get the feeling that nobody involved was aware of the true extent of the story they’re telling beyond that it makes for a romantic tragedy. The only extra: a brief "making of” documentary that squeezes in just enough info to make you wish it was longer. (TVA/Sony)