Jean & Pauline first meet at a ball when she is twenty but have no idea what they must endure in order to stay together for the rest of their lives. Jean's first calling in life is to be a clergyman. But with his marriage dissolving he flees his wife and child and a disapproving conservative community. Free to now be with Pauline (Emmanuelle Beart), they establish a new life in Switzerland where their love prospers and they start a family of their own. Jean travels full circle when his family requests he takes over the porcelain business. He feels compelled to accept, despite predicting the struggle ahead and the strain it will put on him and Pauline. Family rivalry, the Great War and modern industrialism are just some of the obstacles that are sent to determine whether their love is destined to survive the ultimate test of time.
- Les Destinees Sentimentales review by Alphaville
This is one of those tedious talkies that French cinema makes far too many of. It opens with a domestic squabble filmed as talking heads and never gets any better. What’s the point of wide-screen if all you do is put a single talking head in the middle of it? The images are so sleep-inducing you deserve a medal if you last the whole 172 minutes.
Director Olivier Assayas simply has no sense of cinema. After this 2002 effort he went on to make other borefests such as Clouds of Sils Maria in 2015. They keep giving him money and calling him ‘acclaimed’. This film was even an official entry at Cannes, He must be stopped.
His films are everything the Nouvelle Vague railed against. Where are the new Jean-Luc and Francois when you need them?