Philipe Garrel’s forgettable melodrama “Jealousy” (2013)


A father working as an actor (Louis) attempts to make his girlfriend a star (Claudia) but fails. Despite his efforts, a schism is formed and she ends up cheating and leaving him


Phillipe Garrel has an extensive filmography dating back to the French New Wave, and I’ve never really found his style all that appealing. His modern-day films are fanciful melodramas with the emotion turned down entirely. In Jealousy, the plot focuses on a self-involved father that examines two boring parental figures sabotaging their happiness through vanity. And yet, there’s never any passion felt between them and the relationship is merely a facade. It’s neither interesting nor attention-grabbing, more so going through the motions with annoying characters. Louis Garrel (Louis) is much better elsewhere, but with this character, he’s far too restrained and nothing that happens to him seems to make any impact. He does have one crying scene late into the film, but it’s a contrived bit of writing that expects the audience to feel something for him and his situation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as I felt nothing for him or Anna Mouglalis (Claudia). It’s an apathetic film that is focused on life’s banality and doesn’t justify its existence with any meaningful message on the state of jealousy and its place in a relationship.

– The use of black-and-white cinematography feels weirdly out of place in almost all of Garrel’s films and especially here. The melancholic tone could give some justification or the choice to show relationships are black-and-white, but it feels more aesthetically driven. As if he’s reaching for an early period and personally, the choice doesn’t work

– Independent films are the greatest, but this overly detached romance trend that continues to this day, especially out of French cinema, is a little off-putting. I get that’s Garrel’s style, but that’s likely the reason I don’t want to seek out his work often

Review: ★★

Verdict: not weird


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