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Mood Indigo - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published August 13th 2013
Michel Gondry's take on a cult classic
Director: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep)
Cast: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh, Omar Sy

The dazzling ingenuity of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind seems light years away now as the lustre of Michel Gondry's career fades a little with each subsequent film. His roots as a music video director are more obvious here than they ever have been before, with Mood Indigo feeling more like a strand of visual ideas than a fully fledged narrative.

mood indigo michel gondry
Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris as star-crossed lovers, Chloe and Colin

Strangely, this drama-free enterprise is based on a book, an unfilmable one allegedly, and Gondry seems to prove that point. His affection for stop animation, home-made gadgets and whimsy have completely taken over here. This is a great shame considering the roster of A-list French actors at his disposal who have so little to do. Assembling the leading stars from Heartbreakers, Amelie, The Intouchables and Priceless would seem like a slam dunk at the box office, but no star wattage is going to save this once word of mouth gets out.

The story, such as it is, involves a very rich man, Colin (Duris), who lives in a converted train. He falls in love with Chloe (Tautou), but after a whirlwind romance, a terrible illness befalls her.

The courtship itself is handled on a grand scale, with Colin proving an incurable and determined romantic. There's singing, dancing and a ride in the Paris skies on a cloud, among other adventures, and it's all handled with Gondry's signature love of low-tech mechanics.

It's hard not to like a lot of the inventions, the doorbell that turns into a scattering insect while it rings, the TV chef who keeps appearing in the fridge, a piano that makes cocktails when you play it, and such simple delights as pineapple toothpaste. But such quaint diversions do not a good film make, and something this slight and whimsical has no right clocking in at over 2 hours.

mood Indigo michel gondry
Gad Elmaleh as Colin's bestie, Chick, and his g.f. Alise (Aissa Maiga)

Considering this is essentially a love story, it's main flaw is that it has no heart. Duris musters up his usual charm, although with the shenanigans swirling around him at a breakneck pace, he's hard pressed to compete with such a menagerie of gadgetry. Tautou is less successful at breathing life into Chloe, and the two together exude little chemistry.

This is a film of amusing moments, but in lacking any real depth of emotion it remains a lot less than the sum its frenetically moving parts.

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Why? The latest from visionary Michel Gondry
Where: At selected cinemas
Your Comment
If you need to read the book to enjoy the film, that isn't much of a recommendation.
by Richard Leathem (score: 2|132) 2109 days ago
Wow the trailer looks amazing but I hear you :(
by 1xani (score: 1|10) 2110 days ago
Oh, my God, what a critic. I can see that you haven't read L'écume des jours from Boris Vian, and so you can't understand why this movie is amazing. How to make a movie from a Boris Vian's book: Gondry has done it perfectly. So, next time you want to comment about a movie, try to raise your knowledge about it before to open your mouth. :-)
by rache (score: 0|3) 2109 days ago
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