6 December 2016 | dbdumonteil
Murmur of the heart
Two years before ,Annie Girardot had already been cast as a mother who had serious problems with her teenage son (Stephane Hillel) in André Cayatte 's "A Chacun Son Enfer";the movie got unanimous thumbs down :"enough is enough" the critics wrote.
"Le Coeur A L'Envers " is more of the same ,in a much more restrained mode ;it is proof positive,as everyone past infancy knows, that psychology is not an exact science.
When it was released ,it was lambasted as few Girardot's movie were;"La Saison Cinematographique 1981"wrote:" spate of clichés, heavy-handed dialogue (however,it was written by Gerard Brach ,Roman Polanski's collaborator),too careful directing,you name it....
Seen today ,the movie ,which was not even granted an entry in the "Dictionnaire Des Films" has not worn that much bad.
Yes,Girardot's work with her patients is clichéd to a fault;both Charles Denner and Stephane Audran are wasted ;the affair with the latter's neurotic daughter does not make any sense (considering the short sequence with the streetwalkers,and Julien's exclusive love);We can also wonder how Mallet can sleep with Pauline ,and,at the same time ,wreck Denner's house -including a masterpiece and the sheets of the bed where the lovers have laid
But the Girardot/Mallet relationship is certainly smarter than the timid Massari/Ferreux one in Louis Malle's 1971 work.Mallet ,who is like Girardot a stage actor as well,has charm,mystery and ambiguity going for him;"the trip to Spain lacks madness" sneered the critics ,but its discreet treatment troubles the viewer,as the mother-and- son's attitude becomes more and more that of lovers ;And Girardot's final Freudian slip (Laure/mother) is downright baffling .