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Côte d'Azur (Unrated)

Release Date: September 9th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and Chelsea Cinemas 9) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Glibert Melki, Jean-Marc Barr, EJacques Bonnaffe Edoaurd Collin, Romain Torres, Sabrina Seyvecou
Directed by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau.
In French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Marc (Melki) goes through midlife crises when he spends time at his childhood home at the seaside with his wife Beatrix (Tedeshi) and his teenage children Charly (Torres), Laura (Seyvecou) and Charly's best friend Martin (Collin).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Besides the beautiful beaches and picturesque views of the sea, the real star of this film is Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. She radiates with life in every scene. Her performance is filled with energy and charisma as Beatrix, a lonely and sexually-deprived wife. It is funny how she manages to sneak a sexual affair behind her husband's back so often, i.e. behind some rocks while he's sunbathing at the beach. To make matters more complicated, Charly, their 17 year-old son is so close to his best friend that his parents believe that he must be gay. Laura, his 19 year-old sister, is growing up too fast: she has a boyfriend who rides a motorcycle in front of her bewildered father. Her subplot is not nearly explored as much as Charly's potential homosexuality, which is much more interesting and funny. There are some awkward moments that reoccur, such as each male in the house masturbating in the shower (separately, of course)--including the father! There is a plot twist which does turn things around quite a bit, but it is done very lightly and comedic. Surprisingly, there are two lively musical numbers: one involving Beatrix and the other with the rest of the cast. It is very easy to be entertained when each actor, especially Tedeshi, exterts a tremendous amount of energy that shows how much they truly enjoy being about of this film.

SPIRITUAL BALUE: The basic message is that, often, your past comes back to haunt you whether you like it or not. Also, it is not a good idea to hide your true feelings no matter how embarrassing they may be--this can cause domestic problems. However, in reality, not every problem has a solution that is as simple and neat as presented in this film's uplifting ending. It would have been nice to have a little less closure, but it is still satisfying.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Although they are lively, the musical numbers seem out of place and slightly distracting. They simply take away the film's realism.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A thoroughly entertaining film with an amazing, radiating performance by the lovely Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. With its picturesque settings and an effective blend comedy and drama, it is easy to forgive its two distracting musical numbers.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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