Photobucket - Video and Image HostingLa Vie En Rose

In theaters June 15th 2007
PG13 for substance abuse, sexual content, brief nudity and language
In French with English Subtitles
Runtime: 140 min

Reviewed by Anne Jackson for Mungles on Movies

True tragedies aren’t common in film very often. We’ve become so accustomed to happy endings, or at least some sort of positive breakthrough in movies, that we feel jilted if we don’t experience such a joyous moment.
But what happens when one’s life is that; a series of complex tragedies only marked by occasional and fleeting moments of happiness?
Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) is a world-renowned French singer from the 1940s and 1950s, Growing up in the slums of Paris with her mother, her father returns from the war and realizes the dire trouble that awaits Edith should she stay. He takes her to live with his mother, who is the “madame” at a Normandy brothel. Edith spends several years there growing up with “ladies of the night” for friends and also becoming seriously ill – to the point of blindness – at her young age.
After a trip to visit a statue of St. Theresa with the women from the brothel, Edith can see again. Her father comes and takes her on the road with him as a part of a circus, which he eventually leaves. Becoming a street-performer, much like Edith’s mother, he unsuccessfully tries to earn a living. Realizing he can’t make enough, he pushes the teenaged Edith to sing.
And it so happens, this is Edith’s big break. A promoter, Louis Leplee discovers the awkward Edith and through the French cabaret circuit, Edith manages to make a name for herself. She also steps into the dark side of stardom; the alcohol, the parties, the men; all which lead to more and more tragedy and pain for Edith.
The film journeys back and forth in time and location; from Edith’s childhood to her deathbed; from France to New York. Her struggles with pain, drugs, perfectionism, and control remain consistent.
La Vie en Rose (French, subtitled) took me fearlessly down Edith’s path of success and ultimate destruction. Yet even in such sadness, beauty is found in art. Through such pain, life is portrayed under the stage light. Edith wanted no more, or no less, than what life handed her. All she wanted to do was sing. And as France’s “little sparrow” takes the stage, or in the case the screen, all you will want to do is watch. I give La Vie en Rose 4 out of 5 “Padam, Padams.”

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