Un coeur simple (2008)
aka: A Simple Heart
A film directed by Marion Laine

Genre: Drama

Review published:


Un coeur simple photo
Félicité is a young woman who is born to love others. She loves generously, without any thought of self-interest, but little of what she gives so freely is returned to her. A brief romance with an egoistical man named Théodore comes to nothing. Madame Obain, the woman who engages her to look after her house and her two children, rebukes her for her shows of sentiment. The only one who is suited to receive her love is Victor, her young nephew - but even he is taken from her...
© filmsdefrance.com 2012

Film Review

Un coeur simple is an inspired adaptation of one of Gustave Flaubert lesser known works, a short story which, like his better known Madame Bovary, is concerned with a woman's yearning for an unattainable passion. It is the first full length film to be directed by Marion Laine and in places it does show the telltale signs of a first film - in its uneven narrative, the poorly developed secondary characters and one or two artistic over-indulgences (such as the unnecessary use of slow motion photography).

Over all, however, the film has much to commend it. Intense, introspective performances from Sandrine Bonnaire and Marina Foïs convey the torment and quiet despair of two women who fail to find fulfilment in their lives and whose only solace is their uneasy companionship. Meanwhile, the sets and naturalistic photography perfectly evoke Flaubert's sombre world of rural hardship and bourgeois artificiality. Whilst the film may lack the force and humanity of Flaubert's writing, it is still a strangely compelling and moving work, pleasing with its understated poetry and moments of exquisite poignancy.

© James Travers 2009

The above article was written for filmsdefrance.com and should not be reproduced in any medium without the author's permission.

Other drama films of the 2000s from France that you may be interested in are: Cédric Klapisch's L'Auberge espagnole (2002), Abdellatif Kechiche's L'Esquive (2003), Chantal Richard's Lili et le baobab (2006), Patrice Chéreau's Persécution (2009) and Christian Faure's Un amour à taire (2005).

Where to watch this film

The film Un coeur simple may be available on amazon via the following links:
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Film Credits

  • Director: Marion Laine
  • Script: Marion Laine, Nicolas Peufaillit, Gustave Flaubert (story)
  • Photo: Guillaume Schiffman
  • Music: Cyril Morin
  • Cast: Sandrine Bonnaire (Félicité), Marina Foïs (Mathilde Aubain), Pascal Elbé (Théodore), Patrick Pineau (Liébard), Thibault Vinçon (Frédéric), Noémie Lvovsky (Nastasie), Louise Orry-Diquéro (Clémence Aubain 9-11 ans), Melissa Dima (Clémence Aubain à 4 ans), Antoine Olivera (Paul Aubain à 8 ans), Romain Scheiner (Victor enfant), Jean Senejoux (Paul Aubain 13-15 ans), Marthe Guerin (Clémence Aubain à 15 ans), Michaël Abiteboul (Fabu), Nicolas Bonnefoy (Le copain de Théodore), Bruno Blairet (Le prêtre), Johan Libéreau (Victor jeune homme), Hervé Briaux (Le docteur Poupart), Pierre Louis-Calixte (Me Bourais), Swann Arlaud (Paul Aubain jeune homme), Elsa Tauveron (Léonie), Célia Bernard (La petite voisine), Scarlet (Loulou, le perroquet)
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Support: Color
  • Runtime: 105 min
  • Aka: A Simple Heart

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