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The Butterfly (2002) Review


Good
First there was that disparate-age buddy movie, Monsieur Ibrahim, in which an older man and a boy pair up. Now, before Ibrahim is out of theatres comes another in the bonding genre. It's still a matter of a wide gap in ages but this one deals with an older man and an 8 year old girl. The matchup in the former was made possible by a plot point that removed the young boy's real father from the scenario -- in The Butterfly it's a never-home mother that makes the attention-starved child force herself on the old man downstairs.

The problem for distinguished actor Michel Serrault (Les Diaboliques, 1954) is in withholding his adoration of co-star cutie Claire Bouanich (as Elsa, in her screen debut) long enough to portray ornery neighbor Julien, a self-contained entomologist who is too absorbed in his butterfly collection to welcome a child's attentions. Pretending to see her as an over-inquisitive annoyance demanded professional distance in order to allow the dramatic design to ensnare him (and us) into her magnetic little net.

Continue reading: The Butterfly (2002) Review

Notre Musique Review


Weak
Subtitled "an essay," Notre Musique (literally "our music") is exactly that -- an almost clinical research paper from the 74-year-old Jean-Luc Godard about how cruel the world is -- particularly in southern Europe and the middle east. The film is basically formless, broken into three segments (Hell, Purgatory, Heaven), each ironic in its own way. Heaven, for example, is set on a beach that is surrounded by a fence and American guards.

Continue reading: Notre Musique Review

Coffee & Cigarettes Review


OK

A pair of memorably beguiling, well-matched performances turn what could have been a cloying children's movie into a bittersweet heart-warmer in "The Butterfly," a French confection that eschew cuteness for character.

Michel Serrault ("La Cage aux Folles") stars as a kindly old grump of an amateur entomologist, and button-eyed, be-freckled, 8-year-old Claire Bouanich matches wits with him as a lonesome latchkey-kid neighbor who stows away in his car as he departs for a long hike in the remote Alps on an obsessive hunt for an elusive butterfly.

Unwilling to cut his trip short and (for reasons just on the passable side of forgivably contrived) unable to phone the girl's neglectful young mother, the old coot reluctantly lets her tag along -- and while the bond that soon forms between them is inevitable, it's so unaffected and peppered with little surprises that the film casts a melodious spell nonetheless.

Continue reading: Coffee & Cigarettes Review

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