Thursday, June 18, 2015
375. Jules et Jim/Jules and Jim (1962)
Running Time: 107 minutes
Directed By: Francois Truffaut
Written By: Jean Gruault, Francois Truffaut, from novel by Henri-Pierre Roche
Main Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino, Serge Rezvani
Click here to view the trailer
TRUFFAUT WEEK: PART THREE
Air conditioner still down, still hot as hell in the room where movies are watched and reviews are written, but I'm hanging in there. I took yesterday off from THE BOOK and instead took in two Neil Simon pictures (The Out of Towners and The Goodbye Girl - loved both!) and Blue is the Warmest Color (*meh*, too long). I talked my wife into watching Jules and Jim with me this morning though and if all goes as planned, I may even knock out Shoot the Piano Player by days end. Anyway....let's do it...
I'm going to give you the meat & potatoes plot synopsis here, leaving out all the poetic descriptions and such that Truffaut enthusiasts would have me use. So you've got Jules (Werner), a German and Jim (Serre), a Frenchman and the two are best buds. They like the same stuff, they listen to each other, they just love being around each other. In a perfect world, they'd have just been homosexuals and lived happily ever after, but Truffaut's world isn't perfect, it's tragic - enter Catherine (Moreau). Jeanne Moreau is beautiful, as BOOK doers may remember from La Notte, therefore so is her character Catherine and therefore both Jules and Jim are crazy about her. The three hang out, go to the beach, race down bridges and act silly and in a second perfect world, they'd have just called the whole thing one giant, menage a trois and lived happily ever after, but Truffaut's world isn't perfect, it's tragic - so Catherine ends up marrying Jules and leaving Jim S.O.L. It's at this time that war breaks out, both Jules and Jim are called upon by their countries and when all is said and done, the two return home, Jules marrying Catherine and moving with her and their child to the forest. After a while, Jim comes to visit and the attraction between him and Catherine is still present, stronger than ever. Jules plays it totally cool though, telling the two to make a go at it and he'll just chill in the background and get mildly jealous when they share a bedroom. At this point it's all haywire, with Catherine's emotions overflowing, sometimes longing for Jules familiar embrace, but sometimes wanting to be loved by Jim. It's a scene, man!
Yeah, I didn't really care for it. Someone on the IMDB message boards said, however, that Jules and Jim is better appreciated upon multiple viewings and having seen this once before, many years ago, I can say I did like it better this time. I found the film to be both behind and ahead of the times. Behind the times, in that the film, especially in the first third, felt very old timey - almost like a silent movie, except not silent. I kept expecting to see the Gish's pop out and take Jules and Jim out on a hot double date. Ahead of it's time in that it tackled a very sketchy subject, especially considering it was 1962. I guess the whole idea of the movie is, "Women are evil". I mean, look at the relationship that exists between Jules and Jim, prior to the interference of women, notably Catherine. They're the best of pals and while that never really stops (despite Catherine, they remain friends), they're never really AS close as they were without her. Just listen to the voice over narration at the end, noting that the men's relationship had no equal in love and that Catherine's death was almost like a weight off of Jules' shoulders. No longer would Jules have to worry that Catherine would cheat on him or die, because now she was gone and now the worrying would stop. It's really the anti love movie, made watchable only by a certain few scenes and the overall idea, but bogged down by character actions that just don't seem realistic or even believable to me. I guess it was a unique situation and I have to believe it because that's the story and I can't protest at the story I'm being told, but it was just so unbelievable that any gut (Jules) would tolerate the actions of Catherine. I know there are guys (and girls) who tolerate the deplorable actions of their significant others, but....I don't know...
I was more bored than intrigued by the story of Jules, Jim and Catherine and more often than not just wanted to get on with it and see it to the end. I found the movie to be terribly overrated and REALLY hope that The 400 Blows lives up the hype that surrounds Francois Truffaut. I expect great things from that, just as I'd have expected greatness from this, but here I did not get it. I have no objections to seeing this movie one or even two more times down the road and leaving an open mind, but for now call it a not even average day at the movies and a thumbs down for me. I think, perhaps, people who have a more storied history as it pertains to their relationships may appreciate this more. As for me, I'm a happily married man and my wife is my first love, so perhaps I'm just inexperienced in the ways of the fickle woman. Nuff said? Nuff said!
RATING: 4.5/10 Still nothing blow away from Truffaut and that's the biggest disappointment of all. Day for Night was good, but not good enough for a director usually held in high regard.
MOVIES WATCHED: 924
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 77
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