Anne And Muriel

Anne And Muriel

****

Reviewed by: Robert Reid

Anne and Muriel is a sorbet between blockbusting Hollywood Big Macs. It reminds us, thankfully, that sophistication and subtlety have not entirely vanished from cinema and would be an ideal penance if you have seen Snakes On A Plane, you bad person.

Like a number of Truffaut films, Anne and Muriel is rather like tuning into something uncompromising on Radio 3. You are enriched and enthralled - but somehow left feeling there are elusive qualities which will only emerge on re-inspection.

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The plot, a tale of doomed love, moves languidly along as Truffaut draws us gently and inexorably into a love triangle with a difference. A young art critic, Claude (Jean-Pierre Léaud), befriends Anne (Kika Markham), a young Englishwoman and is invited to spend a holiday at her home where she lives with her mother and sister Muriel (Stacey Tendeter). Unknown to Claude, Anne is matchmaking on her sister's behalf. Love grows – but painfully and awkwardly.

Claude is initially rebuffed by Muriel, but with the hint that things may change. The pair's families step in and enforce a year's separation, during which they may not speak or write to each other. Claude returns to Paris where he indulges in a series of affairs - one of which proves to be fatal to his dreams.

The understated central performances serve to highlight moments of passion and emotion and the cinematography, with its wonderful landscapes, is a real treat. If the film has a flaw, it is that the pace is just a little too languid. In moments of weakness, you hanker for someone to come through the door with a gun in his hand.

Also, the narration by Truffaut himself, tends on occasion to tell us what we know already and doesn't always help the flow. Having said that, Anne and Muriel is a touching, painful and tender film and a great example of Truffaut's work.

Reviewed on: 06 Oct 2006
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Truffaut's second menage a trois movie... this time set in Wales. Out on re-release along with five other Truffaut films.
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Director: François Truffaut

Writer: François Truffaut, based on the book by Henri-Pierre Roché

Starring: Kika Markham, Stacey Tendeter, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Sylvia Marriott, Marie Mansart, Philippe Léotard, Irène Tunc

Year: 1971

Runtime: 126 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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