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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Autumn Tale
Directed by Eric Rohmer
USA 07/99 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG

This is the last of four films in a series based on the seasons by veteran French writer and director Eric Rohmer. Once again he showcases his fascination with the extravagant affections of friends and lovers.

Magali (Marie Riviere) is a widow who runs a vineyard inherited from her parents. Her son Leo (Stephane Damon) is dating Rosine (Alexia Portal), a beautiful and enthusiastic young woman who is too much for him to handle. Magali's best friend since childhood is Isabelle (Beatrice Romand), a happily married librarian who secretly decides to find a suitable man for her. Through an ad in the paper, she meets Gerald (Alain Libolt), a middle-ager who just happens to have been raised on a vineyard.

Meanwhile Rosine sets in motion her own matchmaking project. She wants Etienne (Diedier Sandre), her handsome high school philosophy teacher, to go out on a date with Magali. Of course, all these plans and machinations play themselves out in ways no one expected them to.

Rohmer, the most literate of screenplay writers, draws out exuberant and engaging performances from the entire cast. American novelist Mary Gordon once wrote: "We must not deprive ourselves, our loved ones of the luxury of extravagant affections." In this enchanting film, our hearts go out to these well-meaning women who want only the best for the friend they love and cherish. In the end, Magali inches her way toward love but only on her own terms and at her own speed.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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