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Retro Film Review: Ma Vie En Rose

[This the second of my film reviews during my time of writing reviews for my student newspaper, this one from 24 October 1997. I was given a word limit for this review, because I think that the film reviews editor knew that he didn’t want to give too much space on the film page to an arthouse foreign movie. At the time, I thought that it was a test of my dedication to review films: watching a sensitive French film and trying to find something interesting to write about. I think I did all right but it was hard work. Another thing is that I can’t remember the film now at all – if I didn’t have the promotional material the distributors provided to the film critics at the screening, and this review, I doubt I’d actually seen it.]

In Ma Vie En Rose, the seven-year-old character of Ludovic, played by the highly talented new youngster Georges Du Fresne, is a young boy who wants to be a girl. In fact, he knows he is going to grow up to be a girl. From this premise, the film examines the reactions of the people who come into contact with Ludovic, particularly his parents, as well as neighbours and school friends.

The acting is excellent, particularly the mother, and the director (Alain Berliner), making his debut feature-length film, charts the story with aplomb. However, like the protagonist, the film is unsure of its identity. Is it a comedy or is it a drama? It strikes out in a variety of directions, even taking in a Wizard of Oz influenced dream sequence along the way. For all this, it is an intelligent and engaging film, with warmth and a sense of reality that seems innate in French cinema, and deserves special praise for being a film based around children and not having them act in that nauseating ‘cute’ manner in which all child actors in Hollywood films unfortunately do.

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