La Vie en Rose Movie Review
LA VIE EN ROSE: COTILLARD IS OUTSTANDING
Olivier Dahan's La Vie en Rose tells the story of French singer Edith Piaf. Marion Cotillard plays Piaf and her performance is breathtaking. She captures the essence of this tragic woman who had such talent put faced obstacle after obstacle in her life. The makeup transforms Cotillard. The costumes and the locations (Paris and Prague) complete this period piece that is set from 1918-1963.
Edith (Marion Cotillard) had a mother for a singer and a father who traveled with the circus. When her mother could no longer care for her, she was brought to a whorehouse by her father while he was in the war. When he came back they traveled with the circus until he left after a heated argument with the man who ran it. This led to Edith and her father performing on the streets of Belleville during the 1920s. Edith became an attraction due to her singing. This shaped Edith's life and she performed on the streets until she was discovered by Louis Leplee (Gerard Depardieu). He got her into a club that she sang nightly at until he was found dead. Edith would eventually become a world renowned singer who was an alcoholic and drug addict.
The story of Edith Piaf is tragic from start to finish. She has success and finds love. But success and love are taken from her. When she is singing is the only time that is uplifting. Piaf had a hard life, some of it by her own doing. The movie does a thorough job of covering her life but yet it still lacking. This is because it is hard to identify with her. Cotillard is magnificent as Piaf. She is almost unrecognizable due to her brilliant portrayal that is filled with Piaf's mannerisms, her singing, even her walk towards the end of her life. As an American I am not familiar with Piaf and her work other than by name. But Cotillard's performance left me feeling as if I knew her, inside and out. And it didn't matter how everybody else was in the cast. They all paled in comparison to Marion. And what also captured Edith was her makeup and wardrobe. The curly bob, the natural eyebrows in the beginning, the shaved, thin eyebrows once she became famous, the red lipstick, and the elegant, flowing dresses. All put together this iconic woman. The film was mostly shot in Paris and Prague. We are shown the streets of Paris when Edith is living on them and the elegant hotels and restaurants that she frequents when she hits her stride. They represent the two extremes and how she bounced from one to the next.
It is hard to identify with Edith as she is shown in such a poor light. She overcomes many obstacles to get to the spotlight, but she also continues to have a drug and alcohol addiction.
La Vie en Rose brings the life of Edith Piaf (“the little sparrow”) to light. Marion Cotillard plays Edith and she IS her. She captures her in a way that leaves no room for argument. The costumes, the makeup, and the locations all come together to show her life, from 1918-1963.