The Aviator's Wife

1981 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 7.6 10 2905

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DeeNine-2 9 / 10

Rohmer knows relationships

In this bittersweet tale of disconnections and possibilities perhaps we have the essence of the art of Eric Rohmer. If you have only one Rohmer film to see, perhaps you ought to make it this one because it is so very, very French, so interestingly talkative (one of Rohmer's trademarks) and so very, very Rohmer.

The Aviator's wife, incidentally does not appear except in a photograph, but that is all to the point. Everything is a bit off stage in this intriguing drama: love especially is a bit off stage. And yet how all the participants yearn.

Marie Riviere stars as Anne who is in love with the aviator. We catch her just as she learns that he no longer wants her. He tells her that his wife is pregnant and so he must return to her. Meanwhile, she is being pestered by Francois (Philippe Marlaud) who is in love with her. However he is a little too young and "clinging." Truly she is not interested. It is a disconnection as far as she is concerned.

The heart of the film occurs when Francois is following the aviator and the blond woman. Francois is obsessive and jealous. He follows isn't clear and he really doesn't know why except that this is the man that Anne loves. As it happens while he is following them he runs into a pretty fifteen-year-old (Lucie, played fetchingly by Anne-Laure Meury) who imagines that he is following her. She turns it into a game, and again we have a disconnection. She is fun and cute and full of life, but he cannot really see her because he pines for Anne. Meanwhile Anne of course is pining for the aviator.

Rohmer's intriguing little joke is about the aviator's wife. Who is she and what is she like? We can only imagine. And this is right. The woman imagines what the other woman is like, but never really knows unless she meets her.

Maire Riviere is only passably pretty, but she has gorgeous limbs and beautiful skin and a hypnotic way about her, which Rohmer accentuates in the next to the last scene in her apartment with Francois. We follow the talk between the two, of disconnection and off center possibilities, of friends and lovers with whom things are tantalizingly not exactly right and yet not tragically wrong. As we follow this talk we see that Anne's heart is breaking or has broken--and all the while we see her skin as Francois does. She wants to be touched, but not by him. And then she allows him to touch her, but only in comforting gestures, redirecting his hands away from amorous intent. And then she goes out with a man in whom she really has no interest.

Such is life, one might say. Rohmer certainly thinks so.

One thing I love about Rohmer's films is that you cannot predict where they will go. Another thing is his incredible attention to authentic detail about how people talk and how they feel without cliché and without any compromise with reality--Rohmer's reality of course, which I find is very much like the reality that I have experienced.

See this for Eric Rohmer whose entre into the world of cinema is substantial, original, and wonderfully evocative of what it is like to live in the modern world with an emphasis on personal relationships and love.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

Reviewed by timmy_501 8 / 10

Strong debut for Comedies and Proverbs

It's hard to explain what exactly is so appealing about the films of Eric Rohmer. A plot summary of any of his films would surely make it sound like a dull affair or possibly even a soapy melodrama. Rohmer's films aren't about plot, however, one might even say they defy plot. Instead of focusing on conventional narrative, Rohmer concentrates on his characters. This is not to say that Rohmer chooses to show extraordinary individuals; the strength of his characters is actually in their ordinariness. His characters seem like people I really know or at the very least like people I might encounter. These characters aren't dumbed down or simplified to be more universal, either; each seems like a uniquely realized person.

The Aviator's Wife is about Francois, a Parisian college student/mail sorter and his relationships with his older girlfriend Anne (who he suspects is cheating on him) and Lucie,a younger girl who picks him up in the park. Throughout the film we come to know both the flaws and strengths of these three characters, each of whom is curious (albeit for very different reasons) about a certain aviator and his wife. Francois is naive and clingy but very kind natured, Anne is strong but cruel, and Lucie is cheery and intelligent but also dishonest and coquettish.

The Aviator's Wife is the first of Rohmer's six "Comedies and Proverbs" films. The proverb this time around is: "It is impossible to think about nothing." Within the context of the film this seems to refer to the inability of some of the characters to understand the significance (or lack of significance) of the things they hear. This theme works well enough but the film as a whole fails to be as captivating or as interesting as the previous Rohmer films I've seen (those being Pauline at the Beach and The Green Ray). This is especially apparent in the bedroom scene near the end of the film which goes on too long. Still, the comical ending was a fun surprise.

Reviewed by morrison-dylan-fan 6 / 10

Éric Rohmer's Comedies et Proverbes series-Part 1: The Aviator's Wife.

Reading up about the film makers of the French New Wave (FNW) I found myself put off taking a look at the work of Eric Rohmer,due to Rohmer sounding like the ultimate fuddy-duddy hipster. Unaware about my view on Rohmer,my dad caught me by surprise,by giving me a 6 film DVD/Blu-Ray set of Rohmer titles for Easter!,which has unexpectedly led to me unrolling the first in Rohmer's "Comedies et Proverbes" movie series.

The plot:

Deeply in love with his girlfriend, François starts to fear that Anne is cheating on him,when she is spotted with ex-boyfriend Christian.Walking round town soon after seeing this sight, François spots Christian with another women. Secretly following them, François soon finds someone following him.

View on the film:

Tragically dying in a campsite fire a few weeks after the movie came out, Philippe Marlaud gives a great performance as the heart on his sleeve François,whose outpouring of love for Anne's Marlaud expresses with a considerate sincerity,Spotting François in the park, Anne- Laure Meury (reuniting with Rohmer) gives a wonderful performance as Lucie,whose games on François, Meury performs with a cheeky sass.

Covered in lush water colour shades of green,writer/director Éric Rohmer & cinematographer Bernard Lutic cast an atmosphere of tranquillity over the movie.For the mystery François is trying to solve,the screenplay by Rohmer gathers up the clues with a breezy manner that keeps the viewers guard down on the clever "full circle" ending just round the corner. Whilst other film makers ruthlessly attacked the bourgeoisie lifestyle,Rohmer appears to oddly embrace it,with the non-mystery moments failing to define the tantalising outline of the characters,and the aviator's wife

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