21 October 1999 | allyjack
Comes close to pure cliche
Ultimately, the movie seems to lack ambition - coming close to the kind of cliched French movie that's ridiculed for consisting mainly of a lot of musing in attractive settings, but that ultimately fails to deliver anything new (apart maybe from the slightly Gothic setting of the old house overlooking the cemetery) or insightful. The structure involves a dead sister whose birthday is celebrated on Beart's own (and who shares the same name); one surviving sister who is self-servingly promiscuous and another who verges on being a recluse (but who had a child at sixteen, entailing that perhaps her passion was spent thereafter, leaving only the possibility of an early death) and the teenage daughter whose outlook is forged by a synthesis of these two role models - there are plenty of vague ideas there about influences and parallels and transference (Beart having stolen perhaps not only the dead girl's life but also much of Bonnaire's, and that of the teacher who kills himself near the start after she rejects him, and bits and pieces of her lovers') but it never coalesces into anything worthwhile. The would-be brooding elegant restrained tone serves only to keep it at arm's length.