welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: The Girl on the Train (La fille du RER)

Alternate Title: Truth and Consequences

Story: Sometimes knowing what a film is about beforehand doesn't work out so well. I knew that this latest film directed by France's André Téchiné and written by Mr. Téchiné, Odile Barski and Jean-Marie Besset was inspired by a true story that occurred in France in 2007 and was based on a play by Mr. Besset. The actual event that got France in a frenzy was a hoax perpetrated by a young girl who claimed that she was attacked due to anti-Semitism by a group of young men. She ultimately recanted but the damage was done.

I was surprised to find out that director Techine delivered two films in one. Part one (the longer part) introduces us to the young, restless, sullen Jeanne, who lives with her single mother, is unemployed and spends most of her time roller skating trough the streets of Paris. Pursued by a wannabe wrestler, she ultimately moves in with him, trouble ensues and she gets even more sullen.

It is never clear why she perpetrated the hoax that occurs two-thirds of the way through the film and we also do not get to witness the media frenzy that resulted in France because of this explosive topic.

A secondary, smaller story revolves around a Jewish, well to do family. The connections to this family are not very believable and actually threw me a curve.

That said, the film is interesting but not satisfying. We see beautiful people doing some strange things with their lives and at the end of the film, I simply didn't care.

The real girl, Marie Leonie LeBlanc's story is here: :

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSbtZfTnwrg
Watch the young Emilie Dequenne in Rosetta from 1999.

Acting: Émilie Dequenne as Jeanne is striking and a powerful actor. I look forward to seeing her grow. Catherine Deneuve as her mother, Louise, never fails to deliver, even in this underplayed role. Michel Blanc as lawyer Samuel Bleistein was fine as was Ronit Elkabetz as Judith (you might remember her from The Band's Visit) was also more than fine.

Trivia: Émilie Dequenne was one of over 40 female celebrities, activists, and politicians who read from Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" in Paris on March 31, 2003, during the "V-Day Paris: Stop a la Violence" event. Ronit Elkabetz was born in Beersheba 40 years ago and raised in Haifa, she now lives in Paris. Catherine Deneuve liked Breaking the Waves by Lars von Trier so much that she wrote a personal letter to him, asking him for a role in a film of his. The result of this is her part in Dancer in the Dark. Her son, Christian Vadim' father is Roger Vadim. Her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni's father is Marcello Mastroianni.

Predilection: None

Critters: A white fluffy dog. I was expecting to see more pets since it was filmed in dog loving Paris.

Food: Conversations around the table but little eating.

Sex Spectrum: It is a French film. There was dreamy, up close sex.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Interesting

Opening Titles: A fast moving train is going through a dark tunnel.

Visual Art: Paris and its environs never fail to warm the eyes.

Theater Audience: Several people were complaining about the uncomfortable seats. I gave away the tip that the last row in this particular theater had the most comfy seats since the backs did not go back very far. All eight of us ended up in the back row but everyone left but one man and me when it was announced most of the people were in the wrong theater.

Weather: Paris is lovely in the springtime and summer.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 1

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: High since I knew the story.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. You can also rent Rosetta, which introduced young Émilie Dequenne to the world.

Length: 105 minutes