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Murmur of the Heart (Criterion Collection)

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Very Good Coming of Age Story From Louis Malle

by Brad W on 1/21/2014

Somewhat odd, yet endearing coming of age story about a teenage boy and the emotional bond shared between the boy and his mother. Malle's gentle handling of delicate thematic material and taut pacing in the film's final hour more than make up for the fact that the first half narrative, while never dull, does meander a bit. Recommended!

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Product Overview

A semi-autobiographical tale of a man who comes to terms with his own life while recuperating from a heart murmur ar a mountain spa.


Studio Image Entertainment
SKU 202177049
UPC 037429212523
UPC 14 00037429212523
Format DVD
Release Date 3/28/2006
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.66:1
Name Malle,Louis
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Benoit Ferreux - Actor
Catherine Snopko - Editor
Charlie Parker - Original Music By
Claude Nedjar - Producer
Daniel Gelin - Actor
Gaston Freche - Original Music By
Henri Renaud - Original Music By
Lea Massari - Actor
Louis Malle - Director
Louis Malle - Writer
Michael Lonsdale - Actor
Ricardo Aronovich - Cinematographer
Solange Leprince - Editor
Suzanne Baron - Editor
Vincent Malle - Producer
Nominee (1973) Oscar, Louis Malle, "Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced"
Nominee (1971) Cannes Film Festival, Louis Malle, Golden Palm Award
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review Malle gives us the family in a series of short, fairly self-contained scenes. There are fights and truces, and the boys learn to smoke cigars, drink brandy and forge paintings. The youngest son is taken by his brothers to a brothel (in order to be the victim of a cruel practical joke, as it turns out). The mother has an affair, not very discreetly. And then it turns out the young boy has a heart murmur. Summer at a resort is prescribed, and the mother goes along to keep her son company (and to continue her affair). They take adjoining rooms at the resort hotel, and then Malle sets us up for the final scenes so skillfully that the moment of incest, when it occurs, seems almost natural, more fond than carnal, and not terribly significant. How he achieves this effect is beyond me; he takes the most highly charged subject matter you can imagine, and mutes it into simple affection. The boy is played by a nonactor, Benoit Ferreux, whose puzzlement about growing up, and whose admiration at the possibilities of life, remind us of young Jean-Pierre Leaud in Truffaut's The Four Hundred Blows of a decade ago. The two movies deserve comparison in more ways than one. And yet Murmur of the Heart isn't really about the boy, but the mother. Lea Massari (you may remember her as the girl in L'Avventura) is so irrepressible, so irresponsible, so much a girl and not quite an adult, that her performance takes scenes that might have been embarrassing, and makes them simply magical.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
Product Attributes
Actor Malle,Louis
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide Fresh, intelligent, affectionately comic tale...builds to a thoroughly delightful resolution. Wonderful performances.
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Very Good Coming of Age Story From Louis Malle by Brad W on Jan 21, 2014