GOODBYE FIRST LOVE/UN AMOUR DE JEUNESSE
Reading the reviews of this French film by Mia Hansen-Love, you might think it is something you want to see. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm here to tell you it's a film you want to avoid like the plague.
I sat through it with a level of annoyance and boredom that I rarely suffer from during films with a pedigree. But by the end, which has an especially cliched closing shot, I was ready to throw things at the screen.
Starting at the beginning, we have a young teenage girl who is convinced she is in love with Sullivan (see above) a young man who is happy to be her boyfriend as long as he can go to South America for some months. Camille (the girl) proceeds to whinge and moan and feel sorry for herself – before he leaves – and then turns the dial to 11 once he has left. Her parents being liberal and French look mildly concerned and leave her to herself, while expressing undying hypothetical support and love.
Time passes – way too much time – and she's older and possibly wiser. Except that she then starts a relationship with her architecture professor who is at least twice her age, and has really bad hair. There seems no obvious reason for her to do this, except that since the film is somewhat autobiographical, it may be what the young Mia did. And when Sullivan comes back – and what kind of name is Sullivan, anyway? – our heroine can't quite make up her mind which of these two men she should bless with her love, or what passes for love.
The film should have been subtitled, My Indecision Is Final, since Camille seems incapable of committing herself to one man, one course of action or anything much other than endless wavering. And while this might all be genuine, authentic and based on the director's own experiences, I'm not sure why we should be expected to care. None of the characters is at all appealing; nothing that happens is especially interesting or original, and the whole thing is conducted at a funereal pace, which would give your average snail road rage. For the record, the closing shot is of a hat which has a special significance, being blown off Camille's head into the stream where it floats away downstream, symbolising – you guessed it – the passing of a period in her life connected to the guy who gave her the hat. It's somewhere beyond cliche into screaming and tearing your hair out territory.
You have been warned.
By Phil Raby
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