Pauline at the Beach

1983 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6573

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August 19, 2020 at 10:23 AM



869.68 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by stryker-5 6 / 10

"L'amour, c'est quand sous la surface, on saisit d'un seul coup d'oeil tout la profondeur d'un etre"

The summer is dying as Marion and her young cousin Pauline arrive at a Normandy coastal resort for a short vacation. They meet up with Pierre, an old friend, and Henri, an older man with whom Marion becomes involved.

A charming little essay on love and desire, this film could be called slow and slight - no matter, it follows its own internal purpose. These unexceptional people talk, lie, argue and make love in a natural and convincing way.

Pauline (Amanda Langlet) is a witty 15-year-old who blossoms in the course of the story. We first see her wearing a sailor suit, looking child-like and presexual. She watches the antics of the adults with detached contempt, then meets Sylvain (Simon de la Brosse), a teenage beach bum with whom she becomes intimate. Pauline rises above the jealousies and posturings of the grown-ups and in a subtle way becomes the dominant figure in this ramshackle little group of vacationers.

Rohmer wrote and directed this little comedy of love, and his chief satirical target is Marion (Arielle Dombasle). On the rebound from a foolish marriage, Marion enjoys posing as the worldly-wise older cousin, and she patronises Pauline abominably. It does not take long for Marion to betray herself as a phoney who talks in grandiloquent terms of love and the inner self, but who plays petty courtship games in a social circle of no consequence. "Je veux bruler d'amour", says this pompous prick teaser.

It is clear as soon as Marion meets Henri (Feodor Atkine) that she has the hots for him. Her former amour Pierre (Pascal Greggory) is ever after playing catch-up as the mating-dance between Marion and Henri intensifies.

The fulcrum of the film is the frolic in the sea involving the free-spirited Henri and the sweet-seller Rosette, who are joined by Sylvain. The latter is at a loose end because Marion and Pauline have gone on a day trip to Mont St-Michel, so he splashes in the sea with the older couple. To avert Marion's jealousy, Henri says that it was Sylvain who was trying to bed Rosette, not he - which leads to a major squabble.

Plot is unimportant in this delicate reflection on love and sexual desire. The film is an attractive ensemble piece whose characters linger in the mind long after action movies have been forgotten. Extensive passages of dialogue, endless ruminations on personal relationships and nuances of behaviour are the fabric of this edifice.

Verdict - very intelligent, very pretentious, very flirtatious, very longwinded, yet very appealing. Very French.

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10

One of Rohmer's most engaging films

One of Eric Rohmer's most charming comedies, Pauline at the Beach is a look at the conflict of an adolescent girl who is exposed to the dubious morality of the adults around her. Pauline (Amanda Langlet) is a fifteen year old girl entrusted by her parents to spend the summer with her older cousin Marion (Arielle Dombasie) at a beach resort at the Normandy Coast of France. At the beach, Marion, who is divorced, runs into Pierre (Pascal Gregory), an old friend who is still in love with her even though she rejected him in the past. Marion, however, is more interested in the more worldly Henri (Feodor Atkine), an older friend of Pierre's, who is also a compulsive womanizer.

Pauline is a disinterested observer until she develops a relationship with Sylvain (Simon De La Brosse), a boy of her own age. There is a lot of talk about love and its expectations and Pauline drinks it all down. Marion tells Pauline that she was unable to love her husband and is now waiting for "something to burn inside her". Pierre has a very traditional attitude, thinking that love should only be based upon mutual trust but Henri believes in living for the moment and avoiding commitments. When Henri tries to cover up a secret affair with the candy girl (Rosette) by shifting the blame to young Sylvain, Pauline is called upon to sort out the truth and, in the process, does some fast growing up. Pauline at the Beach is one of Rohmer's most engaging films and the characters are delightful. By the end you feel as if you have made new friends but, alas, the summer vacation is soon over.

Reviewed by Gerry-12 8 / 10

My favorite Rohmer film

Pauline just manages to keep her place in the center of this film, and how nice that is. Her indecisive cousin, a Rohmer type, almost takes over the film with a great figure. The two men are as unreliable as Rohmer's men always are. Pauline, though, is just the acute teen age observer that one can really love. Her boyfriend shows a lot of rectitude too.

This film is a kind of testament to whatever it is in teenagers that makes most of them survive fairly intact, incredible though that survival may be in retrospect. A sweet Rohmer film, and my favorite.

A cute touch is Pauline's two bathing suits - the one that is barely there shows the gawky but unselfconscious teen ager she is, and the modest one suggests the sexy woman she will soon decide to be.

Rohmer's work, even more than most good directors, is a series of essays on a single theme. This one gives more hope that women and men may be able to live together than most of the others do. Still I think Rohmer remains puzzled about how the sexes coexist.

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