31 October 2015 | euroGary
Nothing new, but well worth watching nonetheless
The main impression I gained about 'My Golden Days' is a bit more care could have been taken in casting the three actors who play the lead character - at least far as looks go. When we first meet him, Paul Dédalus, a French diplomat, is played by Mathieu Amalric, with his distinctive, 'lived-in' face. We then see him as a child played by Antoine Bui - who is facially so similar to Amalric they could be related. But as a young man, Paul is played by the handsome Quentin Dolmaire, who looks nothing like Amalric and Bui. If Bui didn't look so similar to Amalric this aberration wouldn't be so noticeable.
But anyway, the story: returning to France after almost a decade abroad, Paul comes to the attention of the intelligence services because someone with the same name and date of birth has been discovered in Australia. As Paul is questioned, we flashback to his childhood living with his lesbian aunt, to an eventful trip to the Soviet Union and to his student life, but most of all we examine his relationship with the captivating Esther, whom he wins over with his pseudo-intellectual gobbledy-gook.
Young Paul is that staple of French cinema, the student who spends too much time thinking. Esther is that other overly-used staple, the unhinged woman. This sort-of prequel to director Arnaud Desplechin's 1996 'My Sex Life... or how I got into an Argument' contains nothing that can't be found in hundreds of other French films. But there's good acting all around; Dolmaire and, as Esther, Lou Roy-Collinet are easy on the eye and their cast of supporting characters interesting. If I have any complaint, it's that I would have liked more - or indeed, any - explanation as to why the child Paul disliked his mother so much, and perhaps more screen time for Amalric - he appears several times in-between the flashbacks of the first third of the film, then suddenly disappears for the rest of it; it's quite noticeable. Where did he go?