Not Here To Be Loved

Not Here To Be Loved


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Jean-Claude is a bailiff whose stressful job is taking its toll on his health. When his doctor tells him he needs exercise, he joins the tango class whose activities he has often watched from his office window. There he meets Françoise, a beautiful young woman whose apparent interest in him slowly changes his perspective on the world. Though things are not destined to run smoothly, their connection will inspire them both to reassess their relationships with others and determine what it is they really want in life.

Not Here To Be Loved is a deft and intelligent film which uses its central romance as the key to a much more in-depth study of the way two lonely people fit into the world around them. It's not really a dance movie, though its dance scenes are really well done - rather, it uses tango as a mans of expressing the intensity of developing feelings between strangers. There are long scenes in which nothing much happens but dancing, yet these work well, from the initial awkwardness of the beginner to the confidence required of the male lead and the compliance required of his partner, with all that that implies. Unfortunately, purely dramatic scenes constructed along the same lines don't hold up nearly as well. There are some very slow moments in this film and a good half hour could have been cut from the early stages with no great loss. It does have rewards to offer the patient viewer, but be prepared to wait a long time for them.

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The exceptions to these ponderous early scenes are the scenes in which Jean-Claude visits his father, a belligerent elderly man now confined to a care home. Georges Wilson's subtle yet intense performance in this role conveys the restrained passions of a whole lifetime and speaks to the film's central theme, the inability of its downtrodden characters to admit to their real feelings. He also acts as a sort of moral example as Jean-Claude contemplates what he owes to himself in life and what he owes to his son, a gentle young man whose enthusiasm for life is gradually being crushed by his dutiful assumption of a role in the family business.

Not Here To Be Loved is, ironically, a difficult film to get close to, but, despite the predictable aspects of its plot, it has a lot more to say than your average romance.

Reviewed on: 05 Jun 2007
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Joining a dance class to get some exercise, a middle aged bailiff meets a beautiful woman who inspires him to change his life.
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Director: Stéphane Brizé

Writer: Stéphane Brizé, Juliette Sales

Starring: Patrick Chesnais, Anne Consigny, Georges Wilson, Lionel Abelanskim, Cyril Couton, Geneviève Mnich, Anne Benoît

Year: 2005

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


London 2006

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