As other assistants have commented, it can sometimes (not always!) seem like there is surprisingly little to do in Le Havre for a town of its size. Consequently, we spend a heck of a lot of time at the cinema (at the moment, I’m going around 3 times a week). This isn’t a bad thing – it’s a good way to improve my French without having to try too hard and it’s pretty good fun.
In the last week, our cinema has been having a previews festival. As a result, I’ve got to see some really great films before their French release date and, excitingly, they’ve all been in English! As much as I enjoy learning French, you really can have too much of a good thing and, while dubbing works fantastically with animations, it is severely irritating when it’s applied to live action films. On one of these cinema visits, the lady checking tickets warned me that the film would be in VO (original version) rather than VF (French dubbed). I told her that I didn’t think it would cause me too much of a problem.
The films I saw and my brief opinions on them were:
Les Cinq Légendes (Rise of the Guardians)
This was the first film I saw last week and it’s the exception to the English language extravaganza that I’ve recently been enjoying.
Les Cinq Légendes is the French incarnation of the Dreamworks animated picture which tells the story of Jack Frost. I saw it at the cinema because the lovely Donné was visiting. This was the third time I’d seen this film in France and it hasn’t lost any of the magic it had the first time. Every so often, a great family film with pretty-much universal appeal is released. This is that type of film. (As a side-note, I’m not entirely sure I want to see this film in English. It’s too perfect in French)
Happiness Therapy – Released in the English-speaking world as Silver Linings Playbook.
(Don’t get me started on the French renaming English films using different English titles. We’ve been there before in other posts, it doesn’t end well.)
This was a really strong film. Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of a man with psychological health problems is excellent and very different from anything I’ve seen him take on before. Jennifer Lawrence puts in an equally strong performance opposite him. The plot is interesting and often darkly funny. It’s unlikely to win many awards, rivalled as it is this year by films such as Lincoln, The Hobbit and Les Misérables, but this is not to say that it doesn’t deserve recognition.
Difficult in parts even in English so I’m glad I didn’t attempt it in French. That considered, it is so worth the effort. Daniel Day-Lewis gives what can only be an Oscar-winning performance as one of the USA’s most popular presidents. The film is powerful, emotive and tense. If it bears repeat viewing, it will easily be one of my favourite films.
Gangster Squad is an above average movie with a good cast. There’s something that bothers me about Ryan Gosling (could well just be jealousy) but I totally disagree with the critics that said he didn’t have good chemistry with Emma Stone. If anything, I found it better than the farcical Crazy, Stupid Love which, in the face of great opposition, I think it an absolutely rubbish film. It’s pretty brutal and graphic in places but the plot sustains fairly well and I did enjoy it. If you have the choice between the two, see Lincoln first.
Les Misérables is STILL not out in France in spite of it having come out over a month ago in some countries. Release dates here really do get on my nerves here sometimes.