Alice Et Martin

Alice Et Martin


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The French enjoy digging deep into personal and family relations. Often they do so with care, which takes time, and while they're doing it, they're talking.

Alice Et Martin has all the ingredients of a wallow. Martin (Alexis Loret) runs away from home when his father dies and lives rough for weeks, until finally turning up at his half brother's door in Paris. Benjamin (Mathieu Amalric) is a struggling gay actor, who shares a flat with Alice (Juliette Binoche), a bad-tempered violinist.

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Martin is spotted in the street by a photographic agent and becomes an instant success as a male model. He grows jealous of Benjamin, because he is infatuated with Alice, who tells him, "You're not my type. Sexually I don't like cute kids."

This is only the start of what must, and will, become a star-crossed romance. It turns out that Martin is seriously screwed up. His half brothers (there are quite a few of them) don't want to know. Alice, the outsider, the strong woman, attempts to unravel the mess and, in the process, gets hurt.

The film feels similar to so many recent imports. Sentimentality has been starved of expression. Life struggles to find hope. Sex is a release that does not cure anything. Love has many meanings, none of which are reliable. Truth is what you feel inside, if you feel anything beyond your own loneliness and fear.

Binoche, in her home territory, can do no wrong. She deserves a better script, that's all. Loret, in his first film, shows considerable promise. He doesn't make you care enough about Martin to sit for more than two hours, watching him atrophy from self pity. Also, his family are not worth it.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Star-crossed lovers struggle in Paris.
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Director: Andre Techine

Writer: Andre Techine, Gilles Taurand

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Alexis Loret, Carmen Maura, Mathieu Amalric

Year: 1998

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France / Spain


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