- François Truffaut
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Monday, December 29, 2003
Antoine, a troubled (and troubling) youngster, comes back from the army, banned from it and any other Government job due to his behavior. As usual not a quitter, he quickly finds another job, and then another, and another, never really settling in any, but always making his best to please his employers (if not very successfully). On a more personal side, Antoine goes after Christine (Claude Jade), a pretty girl he dated in the past, who treats him rather harshly.
Antoine’s personality has never been as fascinating as presented in Baisers volés. He’s still complex (too complex), and only God knows what goes on in his head (surely Antoine himself does not!), but he’s also very funny and absolutely winning. His charm and low-key personality open doors for him, and he’s never alone, or so it seems. But, truth is, Antoine is as lonely and sad as ever, which of course doesn’t mean that he’ll stop looking for love any time soon.
Christine appeared for the first time in this film, a very important addition to the series, and Jade made the most of the role. She’s both lovable and despicable, and a perfect match for Léaud. Her constant indecision makes her incredibly intriguing, both for Antoine and us. She’s perfect.
The plot follows Doinel in his numerous jobs (he’s truly a “jack of all trades, and master of none”), the most notorious one being the one as a private detective. In this hilarious subplot, he clumsily attempts to please his employers but ends up falling for the wife of the current client, an older and gorgeous lady (Delphine Seyrig). Antoine’s participation in the affair proves immature and self-destructive, but that’s just the way he is.
In the meantime, a man who seems to be another private eye tails Christine, which leads to the film’s anti-climax, a surprisingly calm scene featuring she and Antoine in a moment of surprising conformism of our hero, which turns out to be the perfect ending (with classic dialogue concerning handkerchiefs).
Hilarious, sweet, but at the core truly depressing, this is yet another gem by Truffaut (according to some, his best film), and the best post-The Four Hundred Blows (1959) episode of Truffaut’s semi-autobiographical Doinel series. Absolutely not to be missed.
Followed two years later by Bed & Board (1970).
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