Audrey Debord" />
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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Films shows a life far from rosy

The road to fame is often paved with difficulty. Many celebrities begin their journey to stardom at the very bottom. Madonna and Christina Aguilera struggled to become who they are today, but the story of the beautiful French singer, Edith Piaf, as told in La Vie En Rose redefines what it means to struggle. From the roughest part of France to a stage in New York City, Piaf’s journey is one of much pain, with singing being her only real pleasure.

The film opens with Piaf (Marion Cotillard) singing her heart out on stage in New York, 1959. Her childhood was filled with pain as her mother sang in the streets, leaving Piaf off to the side like an orphan. Her father takes her to live with her grandmother Titine (Emmanuelle Seigner) who provides the maternal care Piaf was missing. Tragedy strikes when her father, who takes her to the circus where he performs, tears her from the arms of Titine.

Despite the lack of stability in her life, Piaf discovers her talent at age 10, when – in one of the most touching moments of the film – her father prompts her to perform and she sings to an audience in the street. This tender moment is one of the film’s few positive depictions of Piaf’s life, but her struggles only intensify when she ventures out on her own and makes a living from her talent. She sings in the streets, accompanied by her newfound friend, M√¥mone (Sylvie Testud), who tells Piaf that her actions would normally appear to be begging but "with you it’s a show."

La Vie En Rose certainly is a show and does not fail to entertain. The costumes, the screenplay, the locations: France, Los Angeles, California, Prague, Czech Republic, and the sets were all stunning.

This film is much like a tapestry – it is fully understood after it is finished. Throughout the movie, the scenes switch from Edith’s young adulthood to Edith as an older woman, and the pieces fit together best after the film is finished.

Each scene is skillfully and artfully pieced together, with Cotillard giving a mesmerizing performance on stage or interacting with friends.

One of the most memorable scenes is when Edith is searching for her lover Marcel’s (Jean-Pierre Martins) watch. She bought him a gift and she cannot find it anywhere, so she asks everyone around her to help her search and becomes very frustrated when they stand in shock. She imagines that Marcel is in her bedroom, when in fact he is not. Her abuse of drugs and alcohol catch up with her in this scene and in others when she fails to make it through performances and faints on stage. Despite this, Piaf denies that she is unfit to continue performing.

When American journalist Paulina Nemcova (Paulina Bakarova) interviews her on the beach, Piaf makes it very clear that singing is her life. When Nemcova asks what advice she would give to young women, Piaf says that young women should love. She also says that she enjoys being on stage and that if she could not sing anymore she would die.

La Vie En Rose brilliantly delineates the grim life of the French singer. Cotillard’s acting – and the overall execution of the film – is amazing. Regardless of the tragedy of Piaf’s life, she managed to survive and move the world with her incredible voice. La Vie En Rose follows suit by moving audiences with her story.

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