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La Vie Promise (2009)

Isabelle Huppert , Pascal Greggory , Olivier Dahan  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, Maud Forget, André Marcon, Fabienne Babe
  • Directors: Olivier Dahan
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GX0A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,994 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Vie Promise" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


As lovely as it may be to look at, La Vie Promise still delivers a psychological punch, thanks to skillful storytelling and Huppert's impressive performance. --Time Out NY

Isabelle Huppert delivers another pitch-perfect performance! --Variety

La Vie Promise reminds us that Isabelle Huppert is incontestably one of the very great screen actresses. --Los Angeles Times

Product Description

Isabelle Huppert stars as Sylvia, a weary prostitute who suddenly makes contact with her estranged teenage daughter. Fleeing the French Mediterranean, they head north. Hounded by memory lapses and desperate not to see her daughter repeat her own mistakes, Sylvia tries to re-discover her once promising past.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay Isabelle Huppert Road Movie/Maternal Melodrama March 22, 2006
By Kardius
This is not one of Isabelle Huppert's best movies but she's always interesting to watch and her great performance is the best thing about this movie and quite frankly the only thing that makes it watchable and worth recommending.

The film is essentially a road movie in which Sylvia, a prostitute, and Laurence, her estranged 14-year-old daughter, run away from Nice after the latter commits a crime to defend her mother. They head to find Sylvia's husband and son, which she abandoned three years before and erased from her memory. Along the way, they meet a friendly fugitive who helps them.

The cast is excellent and the scenery is pretty, though there's a heavy-handed use of flower symbolism and U.S. country songs. In short, I recommend it only for Isabelle Huppert's characteristically superb performance (thought be warned that, even though she's great, this is far from her best films).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The flow of the ghost river December 24, 2005
The story here is a little bit specious and even cloying at times. Isabelle Huppert plays Sylvia, a druggie prostitute who seems to care only about her booze and pills. She plies her trade on the streets of Nice. Her 14-year-old daughter, Laurence (Maud Forget) appears out of nowhere, having run away from her foster home. Sylvia tells her to get lost. She doesn't, and in the next scene, trying to protect her mother from a couple of pimps who are starting to beat her up for some money, the 14-year-old somehow stabs one of them. The other runs out the door. The stabbed man is dead, and mother and daughter are on the run as in a Hollywood on the lam movie.

I don't think I need to tell the reader that mom is going to find the love she really feels for her daughter in addition to finding her own heart, and so I won't, because it isn't that simple. The story though is rather ordinary and predictable and is told with a number of loose ends just left lying about, not the least of which is the dead man.

No matter however because:

(1) Isabelle Huppert is brilliant and very convincing as a low-class, trashy kind of person who lies almost habitually, even when she doesn't need to, a person lacking social skills or really any kind of skill. Her hair is too too blonde and she dresses like a tramp.

But it is amazing how comfortable Huppert looks in the role. Again I am very much impressed with her ability. I wonder if there is a more talented actress working anywhere in the world today. She is almost obsessive in the way she becomes the characters she plays. I've seen her in half a dozen films and in everyone she was a distinctly different person.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Huppert shines as down-and-out prostitute March 4, 2005
Isabelle Huppert gives a superb performance as a pill-popping prostitute in "La Vie Promise," a slice-of-life, hard luck tale set on the highways and byways of rural France. Huppert is Sylvia, a hooker in Nice with a fourteen year old daughter named Laurence, whose existence the jaded streetwalker would prefer not to acknowledge even though Sylvia does give her money on a regular basis. One night, however, Laurence forces herself into her mother's life by stabbing to death the pimp who is thrashing Sylvia to within an inch of her life for some money she owes him. The two women hop aboard a train in an effort to disappear into the countryside. One night, Laurence runs away after the two of them have an argument. Much of the film's time is devoted to the mother and daughter's search for one another, often missing each other by a mere fraction of a second. Joshua is a man whom Sylvia and Laurence meet separately on the road and who, in his strangely quiet way, becomes instrumental in reconciling - both physically and psychologically - the estranged pair.

"La Vie Promise" has a simplicity of style and a purity of vision that keep it from becoming just another tale of a down-and-out prostitute or a tired generation gap drama. Sylvia is a complex character, a hurt and lost soul trying to come to grips with the mistakes she's made and hoping to rectify at least some of those mistakes in this crucial moment of her life. Huppert does a beautiful job conveying both the emotional turmoil and the latent nobility hidden within the recesses of her wounded psyche. The screenplay doesn't try to psychoanalyze the character completely, but allows her to retain much of the mystery and ambiguity that makes her, finally, interesting to the audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking For Connections And Rediscovering The Past February 11, 2011
The French film "La Vie Promise" has a mighty weapon in its cinematic arsenal--the luminous Isabelle Huppert headlines this character study of a woman reconnecting with her past. Huppert, a really terrific international star, is renowned for her strong screen performances and is reason enough (for me) to check out any film. Here she plays Sylvia, a world wise and weary prostitute. After a particularly unconvincing bit of violence, Sylvia and her estranged daughter must flee the city to avoid unpleasant reprisals. Huppert is aloof and unkind to the girl and is genuinely unsympathetic in every way! As the women become separated, the film turns into an internal exploration for both--as the girl starts to understand her mother's standoffishness and Sylvia begins to piece together a life prior to being on the streets. Sylvia, quite literally, has blanked out most of her past but longs to reconnect with a son she had to leave behind.

The film never addresses the daughter's back story. Her origin remains a mystery, and she doesn't seem particularly infuriated that Sylvia's quest to find her son still leaves her out in the cold. With the assistance of man on the run, the women eventually reach their destination and the film achieves a quiet intensity as memories start to flood back. Huppert plays the role with a push/pull dichotomy--she charges into every situation, hesitates, then retreats. She wants answers, but doesn't want them. The subtle shifts in her character and in the dynamic between the travelers makes for a satisfying resolution to the adventure. There may be no grand moments of realization, but the film still provides a calm power that is appealing. KGHarris, 2/11.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Too many films about lowlifes abound and some sketchy moments arise in this one, along with too many coincidences, yet Huppert's performance adds to her spectrum of characters... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Kathryn Kramer
3.0 out of 5 stars So so what ... C'est la vie.
I thought this movie was going to be interesting. Wrong ...
It did arouse the curiousity of the other person watching. Read more
Published on December 26, 2010 by maniac
5.0 out of 5 stars Complicated tale of three lost souls searching for a promise
Isabelle Huppert plays the out of luck prostitute, Sylvia, who had suffered an emotional breakdown and did not want to get involved in anyone's life, not even that of her daughter,... Read more
Published on November 22, 2007 by Clare Chu
5.0 out of 5 stars Isabelle Huppert: An Amazingly Fine Actress in a Glowing Role
LA VIE PROMISE is one of those films that begs multiple viewings: the cinematography is truly an art form here, the story though incredibly well told (written by director/... Read more
Published on July 16, 2006 by Grady Harp
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Isabelle Huppert shows once again what a marvelous actress she is! Her face is like a chameleon, how she can convey emotion silently as well as when she speaks. Read more
Published on July 15, 2006 by Frangelica
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good emotional drama; too much plot for an art film
This French film, called something else when released in that country, revolves around a prostitute that takes off with her teenage daughter to seek a reunion with her husband and... Read more
Published on July 10, 2006 by Larry VanDeSande
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