Magazine article Screen International

Love Lasts Three Years

Magazine article Screen International

Love Lasts Three Years

Article excerpt

Dir: Frédéric Beigbeder. France. 2012. 98mins

Household-word novelist, columnist, TV host and nightlife fixture Frédéric Beigbeder translates his sharp, dandyish persona and self-deprecating humour to the screen with agreeable flair in Love Lasts Three Years (L'Amour dure trois ans). This breezy, unpretentious comedy chronicles the imbroglios of a young literary critic embittered by divorce who hits the jackpot after writing the cynical title tome under an assumed name.

Proust and Bourgoin exude effortless chemistry.

Affectionately poking fun at Paris literary life and modern romance in a way that should tickle domestic viewers and devoted francophiles alike, Beigbeder, adapting his own 1997 novel for his directing debut, elicits appealing performances from a cast suited to flippant pronouncements. These range from finely tuned epigrams to barely veiled nods to the intractability of the human condition.

While a few of the spot-on inside jokes won't travel, the overall tone is universal enough to entertain urbanites most anywhere. A trail of successful sneak previews and a spare-but-catchy ad campaign suggest a healthy reception awaits this Jan 18th French release.

Beigbeder, who knows a certain segment of Paris as well as Woody Allen knows a certain segment of New York, fondly lampoons the inherent silliness of the flora and fauna and movers and shakers of the city's intellectual/literary/audiovisual/clubbing spheres while painting a convincing portrait of thwarted mating rituals and heartache.

Clever opening credits deftly portray the idyllic courtship and rosy marriage of Marc Marronnier (Gaspard Proust) and cover girl-pretty Anne (Elisa Sednaoui). But bliss turns to indifference and then hostility and the former lovebirds are in divorce court before the opening reel is half over. Heartbroken Marc asks the judge if he can "appeal" the divorce.

While his divorced parents (Anny Dupery, Bernard Menez) are marginally friendlier than Kirsten Dunst's folks in Melancholia, it's not hard to see why their son might have some unresolved issues in the arena of romance.

After a failed suicide attempt, Marc commits his aphorism-packed vitriol to paper, going from a clean-shaven fellow to a replica of Joaquin Phoenix in I'm Still Here in the process.

The rejection letters he receives from several venerable publishing houses are zingers but an intrepid publisher (Valerie Lemercier) decides to accept the manuscript. …

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