Plot: What’s it about?
Valerie (Virginie Ledoyen) is a beautiful young woman in Paris who is about to begin her new profession as a hotel worker, but first she must pass some information along to her current boyfriend, Remi (Benoit Magimel). This information is important and crucial as it could change the entire path of their relationship, as Valerie has discovered she is pregnant. She has decided to keep the child, but her unemployed, slacker boyfriend doesn’t seem to be able to cope with the news and the two discuss a potential break up. After the argument ends Valerie heads off to work and we watch as she goes through the paces of her new job. As time passes we see her attempt to call her mother time and time again, serve the guests of the hotel, and even interact with the other employees. While none of this seems out of the ordinary at first glance, Valerie uses the information she gathers during this time to make some vital decisions about her life and where she is going in it.
Have you ever really looked forward to a movie coming to DVD, only to discover it has been issued on a lackluster disc? Such is the case for me and this film, A Single Girl which I been waiting for since it was announced. While the disc is decent to be sure, it seems like Fox Lorber took like little to no time with any aspect of this disc. The image is adequate at best, the audio unremarkable, the menus boring and static, and the extras are non existent. How much money and effort would it really take to whip together some nice menus and invite Virginie Ledoyen to record a commentary? And it seems like the message would be clear by now that we want anamorphic transfers, but this is another example of a rushed visual transfer from Fox Lorber. This is a wonderful and fresh movie and it deserves a far better treatment than this release offers. With an excellent performance by the up and coming Ledoyen and a terrific storyline this movie warrants a rental, but with a disc like this I am afraid I have to warn against a purchase unless you’re a die-hard fan of the film.
This film was directed by Benoit Jacquot, who also helped pen the screenplay along with Jerome Beaujour. The technique used in this movie is real time, which means we watch as the events happen. So if fifteen minutes pass in the movie, we’ve seen each second of those fifteen minutes. This isn’t like Rope or Running Time where there is one non stop shot, but this shows us everything that happens within the time frame of this movie. If it goes down, we all see it. This represents many challenges in terms of shooting and directing, so I am sure this was a difficult film to deliver with such good results. It’s easy to tell a story with events that occur off camera, but when you have to show it all it takes on a whole new meaning. I’ve seen a few other of this director’s films and I am pleased with his skills behind the camera. If you want to see more of Jacqout’s movies I recommend The Disenchanted, Seventh Heaven, The School Of Flesh, and The Musician Killer. The lead in this film is played by Virginie Ledoyen who we should recognize from The Beach and here she lights up the screen in every scene. Ledoyen (In All Innocence, Cold Water) has a bright future ahead of her and I hope she can choose her roles wisely. The supporting cast also includes Benoit Magimel (Already Dead), Dominique Valadie (Just Before The Storm), and Michel Bompoil (Bravo’s The Count Of Monte Cristo).
Video: How does it look?
A Single Girl is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is a recent (1995) film so I expected a nice transfer, but this source prints shows some serious grain and wear signs. These problems aren’t that bad, but given the age of the film you’d think it would look better than this. The colors seem bright and show no smears or bleeds, while flesh tones appear normal also. I found no quibbles with the contrast either, as shadows seem accurate and detail is at an acceptable level. While this is a decent transfer, it should have been a great anamorphic transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses a stereo track which offers a decent experience, considering the low audio profile of this film. The music comes across very well and sounds rich, but I imagine in a surround track it would resonate much more. The sound effects seem to be minimal and background in nature, but this track handles them without many hiccups. The dialogue is crisp and seems to be a nice volume also. I don’t speak French, but I can tell clarity when I hear it and the English subtitles were of much help. This is an adequate audio track, but had a nice surround track been used I would have upped the rating considerably.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In what amount to a total disappointment, this release contains no real bonus materials. Some lame filmographies and an award page is all they saw fit to include. Come on Fox Lorber, put some effort into terrific movies like this one and I promise you will see an increase in sales.