Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “La Vie en Rose (Extended Edition)”

(HBO Home Video. 2007. Widescreen. 1 Disc. Rated PG-13. 141 minutes. Directed by Olivier Dahan.) Marion Cotillard, Emmanuelle Seigner, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gerard Depardieu, Clotilde Courau.

Handsomely-mounted biopic of the iconic French singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963) features an all-out performance by Cotillard. The oft-told story of the tragic female singer (see Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, doesn’t carry quite the weight it might have in the pre-cable Behind The Music era. Piaf (or The Little Sparrow as she was known) may still be well-known in France, but do American audiences care about her, some 45 years after her death? That question may come to mind as you’re sitting through those 141 minutes; you’ll have plenty of time to admire Cotillard’s makeup artist, who did a superb job aging her from 16 to 47, as well as the lovely production design and cinematography. Conclusion: accomplished effort, but repetitive. One major quibble: the movie (and songs) are in French, with English subtitles provided for the dialogue, but those subtitles are strangely absent during the songs. Hey, HBO, you aren’t helping your cause with non-French-speaking Americans who don’t know all of Piaf’s music by heart. Included is one informative featurette, Stepping Into Character.