Godard was pretentious! Shocker!
It’s the late-60’s in France and Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel) is, for lack of a better term, a God. His first few films not just influenced movie-goers all over the world, but even changed the tide of French culture, making him something of a celebrity, who could still be celebrated as a daring, risk-taking and sometimes controversial auteur. And life got a whole lot better for him when he met the beautiful and talented Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin), who he then began an affair with and married. It was all looking bright and shiny for Jean-Luc, but for some reason, it all changed when he decided that Jean-Luc was “dead” and that it was time for him to take on a new way of life with his movies. Then, the backlash finally began, but not just from his fans, but friends, family, and heck, even Anne herself.
It’s interesting that writer/director Michel Hazanavicius would take one of the far more conventional formulas to look at the life and career of Jean-Luc Godard. There’s not much style here except for every so often, there’s a Godard trademark that pops up on the screen and is meant to be seen more as an homage, but for some reason, it just doesn’t fit. The whole movie itself is so plain, so simple, and so formulaic that watching it, you almost wish that Godard himself got behind the camera and decided to shake things up a little bit.
And this is coming from someone who isn’t necessarily a Godard fan, which I know will automatically have me losing friends and family alike. Sure, I “get” him, what he did for cinema, and his influence that looms over every film-maker working today, but does that mean his films are entirely my bag? Does that mean I take anything away from them except a lot of head-scratching? Not really and it’s why a simple and rather easygoing look at Godard’s life, for some reason, intrigued me.
But the movie just never gets going and in a way, longs for Godard’s enthusiasm and energy that took over even his messiest of efforts.
Cause on one hand, Hazanavicius himself seems enamored with Godard, the person, as well as the artist, but we never really get a solid, insightful look at his life that makes this a worthy snapshot. Witnessing Godard himself as some sort of a romantic character is interesting, especially since we know this man in real life not to be that, but the movie makes him, as well as the relationship he has with Wiazemsky so shallow and one-dimensional. That isn’t to take away from Garrel and Martin, who both do great jobs sinking into their roles and losing themselves – it’s just that there’s not enough material for them to really work with.
They fight, f**k, eat, drink, and go on and on about politics and the state of cinema. In a Godard film, this would be inexplicably full-of-thought and compelling to watch, but here, it’s not. It’s a little boring, without much of any insight into the life of Godard, except to say that he was a bit of a pretentious jerk that pushed all his loved ones away from him, one by one. Want a more interesting take on that and save yourself about an-hour-and-40-minutes, watch Faces Places and you’ll see for sure.
Or watch a bunch of Godard movies and consider yourself an “intellectual”. Everybody else already does it. Trust me.
Consensus: Focusing on a small portion of Godard’s life should be interesting enough for a rather short, sweet biopic, but oddly enough, Godard Mon Amour never gets off the ground, feeling like a half-baked attempt at seeing what made this man tick and why this romance was so doomed from the very beginning.
5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Cohen Media Group