Staring a radiant Juliette Binoche and first-time actor Alexis Loret, Alice et Martin portrays a love affair that blossoms between the two protagonists and the effects on the relationship of a notable age gap and Martin's tortured past. André Téchiné has delivered some of the most delicate character pieces in recent French cinema, most notably the coming-of-age drama Wild Reeds. However, Alice et Martin, authored with help from Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep), never quite comes together as smoothly as his best work; it ricochets from lovely romantic flirtations to tortured... psychodrama to family melodrama while Téchiné's oblique, reserved direction observes without penetrating the heart of the drama. Loret's Martin is more enigma than character, but Mathieu Amalric portral of Martin's long lost brother shows the same shaggy, understated charm he displayed in Late August, Early September and Binoche brings a sensitivity and toughness to the emotionally scuffed Alice. Her radiant presence gives the film its moments of emotional frisson a discreet, subtle power. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com [show more]
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