The Beat That My Heart Skipped

The Beat That My Heart Skipped


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

The Beat That My Heart Skipped opens with a discussion about boys becoming their fathers, fathers becoming old and sick and being looked after by their sons after years of indifference. In a French remake of James Toback's Fingers, Tom (Romaine Duris) is tired of being his father's enforcer. The old man can't cut it anymore in the brutal world of real estate, has taken a new girlfriend and needs his son's help in collecting debts.

He's damn good at it, clearing apartment blocks, infesting them with rats, threatening the occupants and turning them out. It pays enough to keep him in slick clothes and a nice apartment, but he longs for something more. By chance, he meets the man who used to manage his late mother, when she was a concert pianist. He remembers Tom's gifts as a boy and invites him for an audition. Accepting, Tom soon realises that his years of failure to practice have ill-equipped him for such a test.

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In desperation, he begins scouring the local music schools for a professional opinion and tutoring. He meets a young Vietnamese lady, who cannot speak a word of French and communicates purely though movement, breathing and timing. Music becomes the common tongue. Poring over the delicate coiled spring finger movement of musical masters, he devotes himself to the study.

The film tells of Tom's growing maturity, his final understanding that his wheeling and dealing is only a means of work, not creative expression. Eventually his father brokers a deal with a vicious Russian mobster, which turns sour, and when he tells Tom to collect, it doesn't take him long to realise that the old man is in over his head, which doesn't stop him bonking the mobster's delicious girlfriend.

It's quite clear that Jacques Audiard's film isn't intended as a replacement for Toback's wild-eyed and masterly original, but rather a deliberately assured take on the same material.

Reviewed on: 01 Sep 2005
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A young heavy, following in his father's violent footsteps yearns for something more.
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Chris ****

Director: Jacques Audiard

Writer: Jacques Audiard, Tonino Benacquista, based on the film Fingers, written and directed by James Toback

Starring: Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup, Linh Dan Pham, Aure Atika, Emmanuelle Devos, Jonathan Zaccai, Gilles Cohen, Anton Yakovlev, Melanie Laurent

Year: 2004

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2005

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