I’ve been tracking the French Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose since Picturehouse president Bob Berney picked it up after screening some footage during last May’s Cannes Fest. His instincts were correct. The movie, which opens stateside on June 8, is beautifully done. Luckily Piaf’s life is so gut-wrenching and the music holds up so well that writer-director Olivier Dahan’s rags-to-riches story arc manages to skirt the edges of cliche. It helps that Marion Cotillard’s Piaf is a richly-layered, nasty, gifted, wounded character.
Picturehouse’s other musical biopic, JLo and Marc Antony’s El Cantante, is not nearly as well wrought. Lopez basically plays the whiny supporting wife role to her husband as Salsa star Hector Lavoe.
I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last. Cotillard is a natural for a Best Actress Oscar nomination for this role. She ages from teenager to grave. At one chilling moment, as she is about to make her 1960 comeback with the song “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” bowed over with arthritis, we learn that she is just 45 years old. It was three years before her death. That’s the stuff of which Oscars are made.
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[Originally appeared on Variety.com]