Mike Kueber's Blog

June 25, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #35 – The Lover

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 1:59 am

The Lover is a 1992 French movie based in Vietnam in 1929.  It involves a 16 year-old female student from a dysfunctional, recently impoverished French family who takes up with a 32-year-old Chinese scion whose rich dad has arranged a marriage with another rich Chinese family.  The female student seems normal enough, but her Chinese lover and her French family are so dysfunction they remind me of the characters in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Both the student and the scion seem to make a deep emotional connection, but they deny that fact and continually claim that their affair is a matter of convenience for both of them.  Eventually, however, the scion decides he would rather be with the student instead of the arranged marriage, but his father refuses to allow it.  And the student doesn’t make it easy for him because she refuses to consider the possibility of her and the scion living happily ever after.

As a romantic, I found this movie difficult because the leading characters did not seem to have a belief in happy endings or that old saying – “love conquers all.”  Instead they appear to have an attitude of kismet.

The Lover, which was based on a semi-autobiographical book of the same title by Marguerite Duras, created some controversy when it was released because of rumors that the sex scenes were actual, not simulated.  It received an Academy Award nomination for cinematography and was financially successful in France; not so much in America.

American critics didn’t like the movie either – its critics scored it only 20%.  But its audience scored it 78% and, as usual, I’m with the audience.  I give it three and a half stars out of four.  I’ve never seen an audience and the critics disagree so severely.


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