Un coeur simple (2008)

aka: A Simple Heart


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

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

Film Credits

  • Director: Marion Laine
  • Script: Marion Laine, Nicolas Peufaillit, Gustave Flaubert (story)
  • Cinematographer: 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)
  • Editor: Juliette Welfling
  • Costume designer: Anaïs Romand
  • Producer: Béatrice Caufman, Philippe Liégeois, Jean-Michel Rey
  • Production company: B.C. Films, Angoa-Agicoa, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Cinémage 2, Emergence, La Banque postale Image, Procirep, Programme MEDIA de la Communauté Européenne, Région Ile-de-France, Rézo Productions, TPS Star
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Support: Color
  • Runtime: 105 min
  • Aka: A Simple Heart

Related articles

2015 film releases

Read more about the French films to be released in 2015...

The Silent Era

Before the advent of sound France was a world leader in cinema. Find out more about this overlooked era.

The Golden Age

Discover the best French films of the 1930s, a decade of cinematic delights...

The Occupation Era

Even in the dark days of the Occupation, French cinema continued to impress with its artistry and diversity.

The New Wave

A wave of fresh talent in the late 1950s, early 1960s brought about a dramatic renaissance in French cinema, placing the auteur at the core of France's 7th art.