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La Vie En Rose - Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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La Vie En Rose - Review

Gerard Depardieu and Marion Cotillard in a scene from "La Vie en Rose"

Picturehouse
Olivier Dahan's La Vie En Rose (La Môme), a portrait of Edith Piaf, France's most famous singer, features a bravura performance by the diminutive but impressively abrasive Marion Cotillard.
The rags to riches and back again saga begins with Piaf's dreadful beginnings as an abandoned and sickly child who grows up in various unsuitable places: first the derelict bordello where she is doted upon by a motherless whore (Emmanuelle Seigner), then her father's traveling circus, which is much less to the girl's liking.

Young and fearless, Piaf takes to the streets to sing for food and wine. Right away, she's discovered--by Gerard Depardieu, no less. As bio pics often do, the film follows the long arc of a life: from birth to death, the triumphant rise to fame, and the equally resounding fall. And Piaf falls hard. Her transformation into a drug addicted wreck is shocking.

Piaf's voice is one of a kind; on big speakers, the legendary songs sound marvelous. Marion Cotillard gives a powerhouse performance that could not be more charming or more revolting -- all in one movie. In the end, however, the life and the music and the performance cannot transcend the genre. I left the theater with a resounding headache.

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