Un coeur simple
is an inspired
adaptation of one of Gustave Flaubert lesser known works, a short story
which, like his better known Madame
, 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.
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Félicité is a young woman who is born to love