Who would have thought that Olivier Dahan’s glossy biopic of Edith Piaf, La Vie en rose (or La Môme, as it was originally titled in France, for “Little Sparrow,” Piaf’s nickname) would be one of the must-see movies of the summer? Resolutely old-fashioned in its melodrama, La Vie en rose is nearly Sirkian in its lack of pulled punches and its steadfastly forthright artificiality…check out those incredible fake NYC backdrops, with glistening tall buildings bathed in full cardboard moonlight. And of course, perched atop it all, with bared talons and creepy penciled eyebrows is Marion Cotillard, whose full immersion into the role of the tragic chanteuse is the stuff movie legend is made of.
In honor of this grand old-fashioned party of misery (one that’s giving the word “biopic” a good name), here are two takes, from Reverse Shot staff writers Chris Wisniewski and Kristi Mitsuda. La Vie en rose opens today in limited release, and will expand in the coming weeks.