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Customer Review

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two haunting performances say it all., January 29, 2005
By 
This review is from: Betty Blue (Unrated Director's Cut) (DVD)
Betty Blue is touted as an "erotic drama" by the distributor, a tag which sells the film grossly short. It certainly has frank depictions of sexuality and much nudity -- after all, this is a film that opens on a real-time extended sequence shot of two people having sex -- but to call this erotica is to miss the complete picture.

Betty Blue is an organic look at a troubled relationship in all its glory and ugliness, tenderness and violence, joys and sorrows, made possible by the director's sympathetic and unembarrassed eye, and the sheer dedication of lead actors Jean-Hugues Anglade and Beatrice Dalle. Seldom has a cinematic couple been better paired, and seldom with so much chemistry. Dalle conveys a world of psychological complexity in her face, her eyes seeming to shift with her inner beats. Dalle received the bulk of the attention for this, her breakthrough role, so it might be easy to overlook Jean-Hugues Anglade, a fantastic actor who's every bit as good as Gerard Depardieu, perhaps even half a notch above Jean Reno. In reality, he is the anchor for the film's wrenching emotional journey. When Zorg plays the piano theme for Betty, easily the loveliest scene in the film, Anglade's eyes seem to dance, and the actors say more with their looks during their moments together than all the sex scenes in the world. Thanks to the deft direction, all those nude scenes don't seem like titillation -- merely an illuminating fly-on-the-wall view into the relationship. This couple certainly seems like the type who would be comfortable being naked around each other, and those scenes create a sense of genuine intimacy, rather than intent to arouse.

If there's one thing this film does well, it is the mixture of comedic and tragic scenes which makes it seem such a complete picture. Betty is not always wild and uncontrolled; Zorg is not always patient and loving. They are two flawed characters, made all the more likeable because of their flaws, and their interactions make us laugh, smile in understanding, frown, and cry.

This extended edition makes the film far better. It's been about 10 years since I last saw it so I can't make very specific comparisons. But the restored scenes are substantial, not cosmetic addition of shots, but an explosion of the story, and while I can't name too many specifics, as a whole this version just feels more right, more natural, and more emotional.

Look beyond the film's "erotic" reputation and find a character study, and a portrayal of a relationship, which is as moving as any I've seen.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 21, 2007 3:18:24 AM PST
Zoe's girl says:
I love, love, love your review. I've always loved this film and it continues to be a special gem in my memory.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 6:39:47 AM PDT
Tres bien!

Posted on May 27, 2013 1:36:43 PM PDT
I've seen this film, and I only wish I had the talent to write a review as on the mark as this one. I must comment however, that the dramatic and amazing opening sex scene really works to rope the viewer in to appreciate the special qualities that this film conveys. I too, remain enchanted with it after many years. It must have been VERY hard to write the ending, but it had to end, somehow.
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