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3 Hearts (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 106 minutes.

OK for children.

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

To pick up on one and leave the other behind.

Itís not often easy; itís not often kind.

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

The Loviní Spoonful, 1965.

Thatís the problem facing Marc Beaulieu (Benožt Poelvoorde) when he meets sisters Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni) one right after the other.

While this seems on its surface to be a Racinian tragedy evolved in a complex love triangle, the music (Bruno Coulais) is constantly signaling that itís as much a thriller as it is a love story. I actually felt that the music detracted from the film because every time Sylvie appears, sheís accompanied by warning blasts from the orchestra. To further her position as a heavy she seems to be always dressed in dark, if not black, clothes. I wanted to tell writer/director Benoit Jacquot, ďEnough! I get the picture.Ē Unfortunately, it happened so often that it became somewhat laughable. Jacquot would be better advised to let his viewers figure it out for themselves without inserting such heavy-handed clues.

But, even though I spend a lot of my space talking about it, thatís the only weak spot in this fine movie. Itís extremely well-paced, the acting is outstanding, and the cinematography is exceptional, especially a particularly tense part of the movie when Marc and Sylvie are driving.

Well, there is one other problem I had with it. Benoit Poelvoorde doesnít look to me like a man who could so easily win the hearts of women. Brad Pitt I can buy; Poelvoorde not so much. Like the music and Sylvieís clothes, though, it really doesnít detract from the excellence of the film.

This is one movie that ends when it should, in a scene directly inspired by Back Street (1961), an ending that leaves one thinking. In French.