From the Land of the Moon Has a Respectable Pedigree, but Even Prestige Pictures Can Be Turkeys | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

From the Land of the Moon Has a Respectable Pedigree, but Even Prestige Pictures Can Be Turkeys 

From the Land of the Moon

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

From the Land of the Moon

The French romantic drama From the Land of the Moon certainly has the pedigree of a respectable art-house film. Based on a literary novella, it's a period piece set in France in the 1950s, with privileged young daughters, sweaty field hands, artfully graphic sex, and Marion Cotillard in the lead. Alas, even prestige pictures can be turkeys.

Told in one extended flashback, the film follows the romantic fortunes of Gabrielle (Cotillard), an intense young woman who seems to suffer from erotomania. Gabrielle only wants men she can't have, and when her advances are rebuffed, she cycles between high drama and catatonic depression. Her well-to-do family arranges a marriage of convenience, pawning off their troublesome daughter on José, a good-hearted Catalan laborer (Àlex Brendemühl). Gabrielle informs José up front that she won't sleep with him. He reluctantly accepts the arrangement, although they later negotiate a strange compromise.

When a medical condition lands Gabrielle in a Swiss health spa, she spots her next object of obsession, Andre (Louis Garrel), a wounded soldier. A dark-and-brooding sort straight out of romance-novel central casting, he plays Tchaikovsky on the piano and everything. Nine months after returning from the spa, Gabrielle has a son. Turns out he's good at the piano, too.

Things are not as they seem, however. A ludicrous third-act reveal sends the story spinning off into hopeless melodrama and puts the kibosh on any remaining audience goodwill. Cotillard, effortlessly compelling as ever, isn't the problem. The character of Gabrielle is—she's a romantic sociopath who starts off as little more than a tangle of adolescent urges and ends up there, too. The late plot twist is a momentary thrill, but it leaves the character undeveloped and the story unresolved. This is two-thirds of a script made into two-thirds of a movie. No fair.

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Good movie. That showed a career service member can be sold out by BS politicians

by Darin Thigpen Sr on Only military guys can understand (Film Review)

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation