Love Songs Movie Review

Christopher Honore's Love Songs is an atmosphere of dalliance without any real characters to speak of. It's a light and playful story about sex and love but doesn't really say anything specific about either one. The actors, all proven performers, walk through it with a flirtatious candor, but never let in on what they're after or what they're flirting with besides each other. It so badly wants to be revisionist Godard but it ends up sub-Lelouch at best. Even so, the talented, young director floors it and manages to evade worn-out sexual archetypes with a gleeful glint in his eye.

Has a director ever gone so 180 as Honore, last seen offering the inside-out Dans Paris. Love Songs, his third and weakest film, builds on an endlessly-trampled possibility: Is it conceivable to have a relationship with three people where everyone happily coexists? As always, there's a couple at the middle, Ismaël (Louis Garrel) and Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), who are happy and in love but want to try their luck with another person. Enter Alice (Regular Lovers' Clotilde Hesme), a co-worker of Ismaël's. Alice and Julie fool around, and so do Alice and Ismaël, but Julie is unsatisfied with the experiment, which might explain why she shares the news with her entire family.

When tragedy strikes, quick and out of nowhere, Ismaël begins to unravel and loses his faith in the whole "love" thing. Alice steps into a relationship with a random bar fellow as Ismaël wallows around his apartment. A shock to the system comes in the guise of Alice's brother Erwann (a lively Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet), a young college student who likes to leap and prance around in his underwear in front of forlorn Ismaël. But Erwann endures, enraptured by the lovesick Parisian who used to be seeing his sister. It's in the middle of this seduction that Alice gets wind of Erwann's intentions.

For an easy comparison, Love Songs is Once without the melodrama and the self-seriousness. Honore's frivolous nature, oddly enough, contests for both its charm and its ultimate failure. There's nothing here to really care about, and the 14 musical numbers, a delightful bunch of tunes penned by composer Alex Beaupain, are constructed as digressions rather than part of the narrative. Simply put, Honore is far too good at making things likable to make them lovable.

On the other hand, there's something brisk and engaging about the unpretentiousness of Songs' sexual politics. Sexuality takes on an amorphous quality in Honore's world, the result being an inability to pigeonhole it as a "gay" or "straight" movie. The fluidity with which Garrel, playing a lesser version of the object of desire he embodies in Valerie Bruno-Tedeschi's upcoming and fantastic Actresses, drifts from the idea of being happy with two girls to the idea of being in love with one guy is the film's sole act of wonder.

Aka Les Chansons d'amour.

What's not to love?

Cast & Crew

Director : Christopher Honore

Producer :

Comments

Love Songs Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2008

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Horns - Trailer

Following the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), Ig Perrish (Daniel Redcliffe) wakes up from with a...

Horns Trailer

'Foxcatcher' Leads Almost Went To Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy

Foxcatcher, the psychological drama from the supremely talented Bennett Miller, is without doubt one...

'Foxcatcher' Leads Almost Went To Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were with Lionel Richie

Ahead of the September 2014 release of Barbra Streisand's duet album 'Partners', Lionel Richie talks about the...

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were With Lionel Richie Video

'The November Man' Is Nothing More Than An August Dud

The November Man? Pfffft - Roger Donaldson's latest movie deserves to be nowhere near the penultimate...

'The November Man' Is Nothing More Than An August Dud

Kongos - Lunatic Album Review

Bursting out the stereo with the glitzy stomp of opening salvo 'I'm Only Joking' and 'Come With Me Now', Kongos at first appear to be...

Kongos - Lunatic Album Review

Ariana Grande - Break Free - Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater LA

Ariana Grande performs the song, 'Break Free' live at the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theatre...

Ariana Grande - Break Free - Live On The Honda Stage At The Iheartradio Theater La Video

Jack White - I'm Down (Lyric Video)

The lyric video for Jack White's country music song, 'I'm Down' has received a lyric video. The song has been recorded as part of...

Jack White - I'm Down (Lyric Video) Video

Frasier's 'Niles Crane' Joins Cast of CBS Drama 'The Good Wife'

In his first television role since the conclusion of Frasier in 2004, David Hyde Pierce - who...

Frasier's 'Niles Crane' Joins Cast of CBS Drama 'The Good Wife'

Joan Rivers Stable But Critical, Stopped Breathing During Surgery

Joan Rivers, the 81-year-old comedienne, is in a stable but critical condition in hospital...

Joan Rivers Stable But Critical, Stopped Breathing During Surgery
Advertisement