Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Love Me If You Dare

Directed by Yann Samuel and written by Samuel and Jacky Cukier, Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Game or Love Me If You Dare) is the story about two childhood friends who continuously play a strange game of dare from childhood through adulthood. The film explores the complex relationship between a wealthy boy and a poor Polish girl as they grow into adults. Starring Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard. Jeux d’enfants is a very charming and witty film from Yann Samuel.

The film revolves the lives of two people who start off as childhood friends where they play a twisted game of dare that becomes more intense as they reach into adulthood. It’s a film that plays into a lot of humor and drama where the dares these two people give each other start off very mildly and silly as children but it becomes more twisted as adults where it would play into their emotions and such. The film’s screenplay showcases the lives of Julien (Guillaume Canet) and Sophie (Marion Cotillard) as they become friends as children when the young Julien (Thibault Verhaeghe) helps the young Polish-born Sophie (Josephine Lebas-Joly) who is picked on by other kids. With a tin box that Julien got from his ailing mother, the two would share it during the course of the dares. Things would go from silly to serious in the dares when they’re children and later adults as the extremes that Julien and Sophie put through each other would affect the other people in their lives.

Yann Samuel’s direction is very stylish not just in the look and presentation but also in its approach to comedy and drama. At heart, it is a romantic comedy with a strange twist considering how silly the game can be but also how far it can go where people involved in the game get hurt really badly. Samuel’s direction is filled with a lot of wondrous compositions as well as some playful fantasy scenes the characters engage in as children. Still, there is a sense of style but also moments where Samuel will find a way to divert expectations to see whether or not Julien and Sophie are still in game mode or not. Even as the story is structure in a tennis match of sorts though it has an ending that plays into a sense of ambiguity. Overall, Samuel creates a very dazzling yet off-kilter film about two people whose game of dare takes them to the extreme.

Cinematographer Antoine Roch does brilliant work with the film‘s colorful cinematography as it‘s awash with sepia-drenched colors to play up the sense of fantasy and surrealism the main characters play into. Editors Judith Riviere Kawa and Andrea Sedlackova do amazing work with the editing with its sense of style from jump-cuts to montages to showcase the evolution of Julien and Sophie‘s relationship. Production designer Jean-Michel Simonet does fantastic work with some of the set pieces from the places the characters go into as well as the design of the fantasy sequences the younger Julien and Sophie venture into.

Costume designer Julie Mauduech does wonderful work with the costumes from the clothes the kids wear to evolution of styles that Julien and Sophie wear in the many periods of their relationship. Visual effects supervisors Rodolphe Chabrier and Martial Vallanchon do excellent work with some of the visual effects such as the fantasy scenes where the young Julien and Sophie venture into. Sound editor Thomas Desjonqueres does nice work with the sound work to play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as some of the craziness in the dares. The film’s music by Philippe Rombi is superb for its lush orchestral score that includes some variations of the classic Edith Piaff song La Vie En Rose where music supervisor Geraldine Rombi also provides different versions of that song that are sung by Louis Armstrong and Donna Summer.

The casting by Gigi Akoka is incredible for the ensemble that is created as it features appearances from Elodie Navarre as a rival college student of Sophie, Frederic Greets as a jock Sophie and Julien slap around, Julia Faure as Sophie’s older sister, Philippe Drecq as the young Julien and Sophie’s schoolmaster, and Emmanuelle Gronvold as Julien’s ailing mother who gave him the tin box. Other notable supporting roles include Gerard Watkins as Julien’s father who is bothered by Julien’s friendship with Sophie while Gilles Lellouche and Laetizia Venezia play the respective spouses of Sophie and Julien in the film’s second half and third act. Thibault Verhaeghe and Josephine Lebas-Joly are amazing in their respective roles as the young Julien and Sophie as they bring a lot of energy and imagination to their roles no matter how extreme they dare themselves.

Finally, there’s Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard in remarkable performances in their respective roles as Julien and Sophie. The two bring a lot of humor as well as drama to their roles with Canet as the more reluctant of the two but also very outgoing in the dares. Cotillard is a bit more serious as she also knows how to push the buttons in the dare as it goes to major extremes. Their performances are the heart and soul of the film as neither are afraid to make their characters be despicable at time but they add enough charm to make their performances so fun to watch.

Jeux d’enfants is an excellent film from Yann Samuel that features exhilarating performances from Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard. The film is definitely a very kooky yet entertaining love story that is willing to take things to the extreme not matter how outlandish it can be. In the end, Jeux d’enfants is a superb film from Yann Samuel.

© thevoid99 2013


Big Screen Small Words said...

It's been a long time since I've seen this movie. It's got a charm, and loved their performance!

thevoid99 said...

It's a totally fun film. I know people might feel uncomfortable by their actions but you couldn't help to see how far they will go to top each other.