The Lover

Tagline : She gave her innocence, her passion, her body. The one thing she couldn't give was her love.

Runtime : 115 mins

Genre : Drama Romance

Vote Rating : 7/10

Revenue : 5 million $ USD

Plot : A poor French teenage girl engages in an illicit affair with a wealthy Chinese heir in 1920s Saigon. For the first time in her young life she has control, and she wields it deftly over her besotted lover throughout a series of clandestine meetings and torrid encounters.

Cast Members

Reviews

A wealthy man (Tony Leung) is travelling on a ferry when he encounters a pretty young woman (Jane March). It doesn't take long before they are having a fairly torrid affair, but things are difficult. He is older and a Chinese citizen, she a French girl in what was then French Indo-China. She is also a bit of a gold-digger and quite aware that if she plays her cards right, he can offer her a new, more prosperous, life than that she shares with her mother (Fréderique Meininger) and two brothers. The older brother (Arnaud Giovaninetti) is a bit puritanical when it comes to his sister, her younger (Melvil Poupaud) is more shy and usually content to keep his head down and play his piano. Despite the initially venal nature of her relationship, there gradually develops a bond that is both loving and turbulent as the political situation overtakes their love, with the French leaving Vietnam to local government. This is a well scored and stunning looking film but the story is remarkably thin and repetitive and once we've seen them have sex a few times, I began to wonder if Jean-Jacques Annaud was just a bit bereft of ideas as to how to develop either character beyond the physical or material. It's a slow burn and I'm afraid that I just didn't really engage with either as the story trundled along, narrated occasionally and rather melodramatically by Jeanne Moreau, to a conclusion that was quite a long time coming and not really worth the wait. It's watchable, and illustrates well the gap between rich and poor here in the 1920s, but is very much an example of style over substance.

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