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According to Marlene Dietrich, chanteuse Edith Piaf's voice was "the soul of Paris." This French drama explores the often troubled life of the singer as her fame took her from the City of Lights to America to the South of France. Abandoned by her mother, Piaf grew up in her grandmother's brothel and her father's circus, which is hardly the fun one might imagine. While singing on the streets of Paris as a teen, Piaf (played as an adult by Marion Cotillard, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT) is discovered by club owner Louis Leplie (Gerard Depardieu), and this chance encounter changes the woman's life. Her powerful voice takes her all over the globe, but it can't guard her from the pain and suffering she can't avoid.

As Piaf, Cotillard is mesmerizing. She fully inhabits the singer's ivory skin, crafting a character that never descends into caricature or camp. She lip syncs to Piaf's legendary voice, but the performance is seamless. Like WALK THE LINE and RAY, this biopic creates a fascinating picture of ...

Edith Piaf is the subject ofLa Vie en Rose, director Olivier Dahan's powerful if emotionally redundant biographical film about the iconic French superstar whose life, as depicted here, seems to have been a numbing succession of tragedies interrupted on occasion by artistic triumph. Dahan's portrait begins with Piaf's stay in a brothel as a young girl. Left to the care of her grandmother (who runs the place) after her father pulls her away from a narcissistic mother, Piaf undergoes significant health problems and grows up to sing on the street in lieu of outright prostitution. The film pulses along with the usual biopic rhythms, with pivotal moments in the life of Piaf (played as an adult by Marion Cotillard) turning up regularly only to be smacked aside by the unseen hand of perpetual misfortune. There's the impresario (Gerard Depardieu) who recognizes Piaf's great but raw talent only to have a run-in with the criminal element around her. There's the heavyweight fighter (Marcel Cerdan) who becomes the love of Piaf's life but can't be with her. Drug addiction, random car accidents, tax problems, you name it, it's all here, topped by an unnerving revelation that pops up inLa Vie en Rose's final moments. After awhile, with such a concentration of bad news squeezed into 140 minutes, one begins to wish Dahan had taken a more expansive approach to Piaf's life and times. But the film is never less than interesting, and the lead performance by Cotillard is often astonishing.--Tom Keogh
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CastMarion Cotillard, Marc Barbé, Jan Filipensky, Gérard Depardieu, Clotilde Courau, Nathalie Cox, Emmanuelle Seigner, Garick Hagon, Jaroslav Vizner, Alain Figlarz, André Penvern, William Armstrong, Caroline Sihol, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Edith Le Merdy, Pierre Peyrichout, Christophe Odent, Jean-Paul Rouve, Jean-Pierre Martins, Dominique Bettenfeld, Ashley Wanninger, Jan Kuzelka, Laurence Gormezano, Marie-Armelle de Guy, Jil Aigrot, Cassandre Berger, Catherine Allegret, Caroline Silhol, Manon Chevallier, Pauline Burlet, Alban Casterman, Elisabeth Commelin, Caroline Raynaud, Farida Amrouche, Valeria Moreau, Jean-Paul Muel, Mario Hacquard, Aubert Fenoy, Felix Belleau, Nathalie Dorval, Chantal Bronner, Cylia Malki, Nathalie Dahan, Laurent Olmedo, Harry Hadden-Paton, Laurent Schilling, Josette Menard, Emy Levy, Lucie Stainkrycher, Vera Havelková, Dominique Paturel, Nicholas Pritchard, Martin Sochor, Frederique Smetana, Lenka Kourilova, Pierre Derenne, Laura Menini, Oldrich Hurych, Mathias Honore, Diana Stewart, Jean-Jacques Desplanque, Robert Paturel, Olivier Cruveiller, Sébastien Tavel, Agathe Bodin, Nicole Dubois, Martin Janis, Eric Franquelin, Marc Chapiteau, Maureen Demidof, Philippe Bricard, Olivier Raoux, Helena Gabrielova, Sophie Knitti, Helene Genet, Liliane Cebrian, Nicolas Simon, Pascal Mottier, Thierry Guibault, Ginou Richer, Vladimir Javorsky, Denis Menochet, David Jahn, Sylvie Guichenuy, Fabien Duval, Pauline Nemcova, Maya Barsony, Rodolphe Saulnier, Fedele Papalia, Zdena Herforova, Pier Luigi Colombetti, Olivier Carbone, Christophe Kourotchkine, Robert Nebrensky, Jaromir Janácek, Christopher Gunning, Richard Hein, Elliot Dahan, Isaac Dahan
Genre:  Drama
Release Date:  February 14, 2007
MPAA Rating:  PG-13
Screen WriterOlivier Dahan, Isabelle Sobelman
DVD Release Date:  November 13, 2007
Runtime:  140 minutes
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review by . November 01, 2008
DVD
The story of France's most beloved singer begins in 1918 in a squalid section of Paris. Little Edith is abandoned by her parents and goes to live in her grandmother's brothel. There, she becomes blind from an eye disease and is cared for by the prostitutes. When she recovers her sight, she is forced to join her father as a street performer. Her remarkable singing voice is noticed by a night club manager and she begins her meteoric climb to success, but it is tempered by a series of personal tragedies. …
review by . November 15, 2008
This movie is based on the life of the famous French singer Edith Piaf, and will drain you emotionally and physically (if you're not one for long periods of sitting still)       Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Little Edith has a hard knock life with her mother, and eventually is "rescued" by her father, and taken to live with her grandmother   2. Grandma's girls (and clients) call her "Madame"   3. She is taken under …
review by . July 05, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
My knowledge of Edith Piaf extends to a few of her songs played many times over the years on the local classical FM station's once a week show of folk and other music. I knew nothing of her life.     "La Vie En Rose" with its dizzying flashbacks and flashforwards and cutaways doesn't really tell me much I wanted to know about Piaf. She led a tragic life of abandonment as a child, alcoholism, drug addiction, cripping arthritis, several marriages, many lovers, a lost child and …
review by . July 01, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Marion Cotillard's performance      Cons: The narrative was too fractured and random to bother trying to piece back together      The Bottom Line: Without an actress as strong as Mme Cotillard, the film would have been unbearably confusing if not just totally dull.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Susan Sontag wrote an essay called “Illness as Metaphor” it was …
review by . November 17, 2007
That 'La Môme' AKA 'La Vie En Rose' is a triumph for actress Marion Cotillard who manages to inhabit the persona of Édith Piaf is a given. This is a powerful, deeply moving tribute to a musical phenomenon whose impact on the world remains as heady as during her short lifetime (December 19, 1915-October 11, 1963). She remains a French icon but her singing and her life belong to the world: who can resist her "poignant ballads performed in a heartbreaking voice", the result of her life as an unwanted …
review by . October 07, 2007
Just like the singer herself, `La Vie en Rose' is a magical and vivacious entertainment. Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) had two things in life that she treasured: love and singing. This Biopic French movie deftly hop-scotches between several time frames, giving us a composite of her life.     Rose had to grow up quickly and early, for custody was an unstable affair where she could be brought up by her mother, a street singer; her father, a circus performer; or her grandmother, …
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