The film starts out very comedic in tone, with the personality conflicts between Bertrand and Christophe providing for many brilliant moments humor. At first it seems that the film is a conventional story of two different men who go on an emotional journey together only to find out that they are not as different as they think. But with the introduction of Audrey, the film does away with cinema conventions and proceeds to become a very original (if not at times unbalanced) portrayal of the flaws in human relationships. As Bertrand becomes more involved with Audrey, the film takes on a much darker tone, becoming a suspenseful ride with a tragic conclusion. The character progression in the film is a little unbalanced as Bertrand is the only character that seems to endure any sort of arc from the beginning of the film. The lack of change in Christophe and Audrey makes certain aspects of the film predictable and flat. Also, the drastic and sudden transition from humor to suspense has the potential to throw off the audience and make the message of the film unclear. This quick transition could be the director’s way of putting the audience into the shoes of Bertrand, who quickly jumpes into a world of sex and partying and upon realizing Audrey’s true nature, is suddenly and violently brought back to reality where he realizes that he has put himself in an uncertain and dark situation. The Monaco setting makes the film all the more engaging and provides an excellent physical allusion to the unrealistic and paradise-like lifestyle that Bertrand imagines that he can have with Audrey.
An interesting aspect of the film would be the portrayal of the character of Audrey. Afte viewing of the film I felt that the portrayal and constant reiteration of Audrey’s promiscuity was a bit misogynistic. We only see one side of Audrey’s story and by the end of the film we are left with the message that beautiful women are only present to tempt and misguide headstrong and career-minded men. The character of Audrey is seen completely as a sexual object, constantly wearing skimpy clothing and almost always in some sort of sexual state-of-mind/situation. By the films conclusion there seems to be no justification for her sexist portrayal. Seeing as how the film was directed by a woman, I’m sure that there had to be a reason for the sexist view of women; unfortunately, I was unable to discover what that reason was.
The performances and chemistry between the actors was excellent, especially between Roschdy Zem and Fabrice Luchini. Their scenes together proved to be the most engaging and were the most relevant to the message that the director was trying to get across. In her first screen performance, Louise Bourgoin gives an excellent (if not at times diminutive) performance of a manipulative and seductive young woman. Her presence dominates the screen paralleling the manner in which she bends and controls her male counterparts in the film.
The Girl from Monaco is a competent, humorous, and original film that analyzes the dangers of lust and obsession. Although uneven in its presentation and themes, the film manages to be entertaining and insightful and provides a fun and thrilling ride through the seductive world of Monaco.
Weak: 1 Star Average: 2 Stars Good: 3 Stars Very Good: 4 Stars Excellent: 5 Stars