23 jul. 2014

My Review: Mood Indigo (5/10)

"This feeling of solitude is unfair. I demand to fall in love too!"

No one does surrealism better than the French, but unfortunately I'm not into surrealism and I usually have a hard time enjoying this genre in general. Mood Indigo is probably more surreal than any other film you've seen before, and despite the fantastic visuals and rich imagery used I had a hard time engaging with the characters and its lack of a strong narrative story. I was a huge fan of director, Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and despite the surrealism in that film I enjoyed the strong narrative along with the romance, but I guess a lot of that had to do with Charlie Kaufman's involvement in the writing of the script. Mood Indigo kind of feels like that short scene where Jim Carrey's character was sharing his memory from his childhood as a small scaled adult, with the exception that in Mood Indigo the entire film is like that. There are many surreal elements, like a rat sized man dressed in a rat costume running around the house, a door bell that takes a life of its own every time someone rings the bell, and there's a piano that makes cocktail drinks depending on the notes you play, among many other things (and did I mention how people's legs stretch like rubber every time they started dancing?). Mood Indigo is a great title, although I like the sound of the original French title, L'écume des jours, but the english title fits the film well because moods are a predominant element here. It is a unique film, but one that I had a hard time connecting with and got little enjoyment out of it.

Despite not having a strong narrative, I enjoyed the performances in this film. Romain Duris plays Colin, a wealthy bachelor who falls in love with Audrey Tautou's character, Chloe. They quickly fall in love and everything around them seems to blossom. That is until Chloe develops a strange illness when a flower begins to grow in her lungs. Colin will spend his fortune and do what it takes in order to save her, but little by little the happiness and brightness of his home begins to lose its intensity. Other strong performances came from Omar Sy who played Colin's overly enthusiast chef and who prepares some strange dishes with the help of a TV cook, and then there is also Colin's best friend, Chick, played by Gad Elmaleh who is in a relationship as well and is always hanging out at his home. They all give strong performances and help set the surreal tone of the film with their energetic deliveries. It was great to see Omar Sy again because I really enjoyed his performance in The Intouchables. He was probably my favorite character in this film.

Ultimately the film wore me out and I had a hard time sticking with the entire story because I wished it had a stronger narrative story. I never really cared for the characters here because Gondry was more focused on the images and the fantastical elements rather than on telling a story. This is as close as you get to watching a live action cartoon so if that is what the audience is looking for they will be pleased, but it just wasn't a film for me. 

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