9 May 2005 | howard.schumann
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.