La vie en rose: Bravo, mais pas encore!

This self-consciously gorgeous biopic rehashes the rags to riches to in and out of rehab formula one has had just about enough of. Director Olivier Dahan traces the life of France’s much beloved singer and icon Edith Piaf from her childhood to her last days. Apparently, French singers are no different from American ones – they start poor and miserable, get discovered, betrayed, married, lose loved ones, get addicted to substances legal and illegal, and die. Their music apart, the sequence of these events helps distinguish one singer from another. However, thanks to the chronological collage that passes for editing in this movie, you’re never quite sure when all of these events did happen in Piaf’s life.

This beautifully shot movie packs in a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard, as well as a first-rate soundtrack of French cabaret classics. But too many scenes feel as if created to show the world “And zis is ‘ow you make a biopic!”

The singer biopic has become the summer tentpole for Baby Boomers – story lines and performances to draw them to the theaters and a soundtrack smothered in enough nostalgia to get them to even buy a few records. What happens when we exhaust our supply of singers from the 50s and 60s? Some day, we will run out of singers no one is ashamed to own up to liking a year later. What will they come up with for this generation? Hit me baby one more time. Ouch.


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