Plot: What’s it about?
Beth (Judith Godreche) has many problems in her life, but she doesn’t let them keep her down, she keeps driving ahead. Her (Therese Liotard) mother has been sick for some time now, and she rarely leaves her bed. With her mother unable to work, Beth is quite poor and lives pretty much from day to day, along with her younger brother. While some money comes to them from an acquaintance of the mother’s, they usually have to make due with whatever they can manage to find. She also has a boyfriend, who dares her to prove her love by sleeping with the ugliest man she can find, and she agrees. With her challenge ahead of her, Beth begins the journey that will change her life forever. She meets three men, who seem to be acceptable to complete the task with. One is an older man who sleeps with Beth’s own mother, another a young man her own age who has no experience in the flesh, and the final man a handsome forty year old. What started as just part of a petty argument will end up as a life changing experience for Beth. But will this experience be good…or bad?
I was highly skeptical going into this movie for the first time. Aside from more classic works like those of Godard and Truffaut, I am not that taken with French cinema for some reason. For the most part, I find most modern French films to be hollow and pretentious, and I just can’t seem to get into them. As such, my guards were up with this film, but as it turned out, this is an example of modern French cinema that actually works. The storyline is a little off the beaten path, but I found the movie wove the tapestry of the story quite well. While the packaging touts the sexuality of the film, I think the best asset here is the writing, which is excellent. The writing also makes sure our lead character is well defined and explored, which is what this movie work so well. The pace is somewhat slow and deliberate, so those with short attention spans will not have a good time here. The pace is needed to explore and explain the inner workings of the characters, and I don’t feel like much was wasted in the scenes. So, if you’re a fan of literate character studies and don’t mind subtitles, check this movie out, it’s more than worth the time and effort.
This movie was written and directed by Benoit Jacquot, who has a lengthy resume of films under his belt. While I have an extreme distaste toward one his films, The School of Flesh, I have enjoyed the few other works of his I have seen. Among his better films are Marianne, Seventh Heaven, and A Single Girl, all of which fans of this film should for sure look up. The lead role in this film is played by Judith Godreche, who is stunning visually as well as cinematically, if that’s a word. She was quite young when she made this movie, at the tender age of eighteen, and I think her youthful nature fueled this role. She is a beautiful young woman, to be sure, but she does more than look pretty here, with a stirring performance. Look for Godreche as Christine in The Man In The Iron Mask, and let’s hope she can wrangle some more work soon. The supporting cast includes Malcom Conrath (Rendezvous In Paris), Therese Liotard (Because Of Her, Keep It Quiet), Ivan Desny (I Hate Blondes), and Marcel Bozonnet (Those Were The Days).
Video: How does it look?
The Disenchanted is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. The visual transfer here is excellent, the image looks many times better than I expected. The colors are based in a natural spectrum, but when needed they become bright and vivid as well. Flesh tones are natural and consistent also, with no discoloration or distortion present. The black levels are sharp also, with well defined shadows and high visible detail level at all times. The transfer does suffer from some minor compression problems, but nothing extreme.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is replicated via a stereo track, so while the audio sounds good, it lacks the punch a surround track would offer. The elements are distinct and consistent, and since the movie is dialogue driven, the stereo track is adequate. Speaking of, the dialogue sounds clear and even. The original French language is used, with easy to read yellow subtitles in English.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc features some information about the distributor, but no true supplements.