Alice and Martin

1998 [FRENCH]

Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1727

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Mathieu Amalric as Benjamin Sauvagnac
Carmen Maura as Jeanine
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24 fps
2 hr 4 min
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2.07 GB
fre 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 4 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by noralee 8 / 10

Very Original Take on the Couple Made for Each Other Genre

"Alice and Martin (Alice et Martin)" is the anti-Hollywood relationship movie of the summer. (It's French so you have to say it like you went to National Lampoon's famous School of ze French Akzent: "a-LEES ay mar-TAHN").

Act 1 gives you background on Martin growing up, yeah you think as you get restless, the usual dysfunctional family, the usual fights with dad, so he ends up in the big city.

Act 2 is the usual couple in the Big City (in this case, of course Paris) and quite a few people in the audience yawned quite loudly. There's a few sophisticated touches -- she's pals with gay guys, he falls into being a fashion model for the easy money (and the metaphor for his blankness) so there's arguments about commercialism.

This is my first Andre Techine film so I don't know if the crucial Act 3 is unusual, even though the central plot development was not a complete surprise.

So many Hollywood "meet cute, fall into bed, fight then realize they're made for each other" movies have the couple existing in a bubble, separate from family or the sources of how they got to be like they are. Here coming to terms with their souls means coming to terms with their family and seeing through all the implications. So there's a bit of a gimmick in cutting back and forth with flashbacks to reveal background to us, but it's done sort of like an amnesia victim gradually remembering.

Juliette Binoche really rises to the Act 3; I wasn't all that impressed with her in "The English Patient" but she's gut-wrenching here, going through very complex emotions--and nice non-Hollywood touch that she's the older of the pair.

If Hollywood were to remake this movie, they'd cut to the last 10 minutes, and turn it into a courtroom drama where the heroic defense lawyer goes around interviewing everyone to get to "the truth," but coming to peace with yourself is not something that litigation can solve, and Binoche's face shows that.

Nice repeat use of Jeff Buckley song.

(originally written 9/3/2000)

Reviewed by hsma 4 / 10

Too disjointed

Although the performances were good, this movie is quite frustrating. While a non-linear narrative can be effective and compelling, the disjointed plot or lack of one leaves the viewer bored and confused. The story line is further strained by the lack of development of much of Alice's and Martin's characters. For instance, one can't understand why Martin's father was such a brute or why Alice would choose to stay with Martin. It's a shame because this movie could have been a lot better.

Reviewed by jotix100 6 / 10

What makes Martin run?

Andre Techine is a director that likes to portray the problems young people are facing, which seems what attracted him to "Alice et Martin", a film that gives us a strange take in how the past catches up with a young man that challenged his father's authority. The screen play is by Olivier Assayas and Gilles Taurand, two men that have had written better things for the cinema.

The film's opening sequence is puzzling since we have no clue as to what makes Martin run away from home. This seems to be a disjointed way to make the film work, because even though we might guess what could have happened, when the final truth comes about, we just don't care about it.

Then there is the problem of Alice's attraction for Martin. Alice is a woman that seems to know what she wants. She is older than the young guy that comes into her life, and should have been wiser to avoid, at all costs, but she falls for him, anyhow.

Basically, what attracted us to the film was Juliette Binoche, an actress that is always interesting to watch. Unfortunately, because our lack of interest in the story, we stop caring about her long before we get to know what really happened. Alexis Loret is a weak choice for Martin. Mathiew Amalric and Carmen Maura fare better in their supporting roles.

"Alice et Martin" is a slow moving film that will get in the nerves of viewers. Better luck to M. Techine in his next effort.

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