Posted by: greercn | May 15, 2012

Goodbye First Love (Un Amour de Jeunesse)

This was described to me as “Twilight, without vampires”. This film has sex, or the facsimile thereof, which “Twilight” lacks. I accept that “Goodbye” has no vampires, but that’s not a bad thing.

We meet our young lovers, Camille and Sullivan, when she is 15 and he is a little older. He is about to go off on travels to South America and she feels rejected by this. The dialogue is so perfect; youth and yearning for achievements of adulthood are beautifully written and acted.

Sullivan? For Gilbert and? Gilbert O’? It’s never explained and this minor irritant of the odd name passes by, quickly.

Camille, of course, conjures up “La Dame” and camelias and a whole lot of emotional despair, as baggage.

So they meet, fall in love and it doesn’t work out. One of the brilliant aspects of this movie is that love does not redeem all. Sometimes, love just brings out the worst in you as passion reduces your abilitiy to shine. If you’re unlucky in love, you will totally get this message.

Years pass. Camille meets someone who is much better for her and encourages her aspirations. But Sullivan is deeply in her heart and he’s hard to let go of, even though everyone observes that he isn’t much good for her.

The actors playing the parents are all terrific and the music enhances the Scandinavian and French feel of this German-French co-production.

Paris and the countryside look lovely and sparkle. This is a very pretty and engaging movie with quite a lot of depth.

The whole audience at the Notting Hill Gate Picturehouse enjoyed it and the people I spoke to afterwards were moved by the depth of feeling here. There are some lovely moments about travel, architecture, design and the nature of passion that all help it move quickly.

So, should you see it? If you are lucky enough to be able to see it at the Gate, the rather baroque surroundings will enhance your experience.

Mia Hansen-Love (what a great name) directs and writes and she brings enormous believability to the material.

Lola Creton and Sebastian Urzendowsky give superb performances as the young leads. And Magne-Havard Brekke conjures up the glorious leading men of “Borgen”, “The Bridge” and “The Killing” in a rather wonderful way.

See it, if you believe love conquers all as it has a glorious offbeat take on those thoughts.


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