A beautiful if heartbreaking story of a thirteen-year-old's encounter with loneliness. She sees a potential escape turn to disappointment and thus must face at an early age, alone, a loss of innocence. The cinematography is brilliantly done. The acting all around is excellent, but special notice must go a very young Charlotte Gainsbourg.
L'EFFRONTEE introduces a young Charlotte Gainsbourg. You can also see her many talents in The Cement Garden. Overall this is a good movie with one brief topless scene of Charlotte where she's trying to figure out which top to wear.
L'EFFRONTEE is a delight. Director Claude Miller created this little low budget film in 1985 and in it he introduced young Charlotte Gainsbourg who now enjoys a significant cinematic presence both in Europe and the USA. The story is a simple one but one with deep feeling and lingering impact. Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is thirteen, plain, discontent with her life in boring Savoie, France, a girl without boyfriends and whose only girlfriend is a younger sickly child Lulu (Julie Glenn). Charlotte lives with her guardian Antoine (Raoul Billerey) and housekeeper Leone (Bernadette Lafont) and faces a summer of boredom and resentment that she has such a 'wretched life'. As school is ending she discovers that a child prodigy pianist Clara Baumann (Clothilde Baudon) is in Savoie for a concert. Clara is everything Charlotte wants to be - pretty, gifted, popular, wealthy, living a fascinatingly magical life. Simultaneously Charlotte encounters a young sailor Jean (Jean-Phillipe Ecoffey) working in a metal factor, a lad in his 20s who is the first male to pay attention to her. They flirt and her infatuation with Jean parallels her 'falling in love' with Clara and all that Clara represents. With Jean's help, and the help of Clara's manager Sam - 'Fruit of the Loom' (Jean-Claude Brialy), Charlotte spends a day with Clara and fantasizes escaping Savoie and joining the young pianist on her tour of France. How all this plays out is the beauty of this exquisite film. Charlotte discovers that the promises of adulthood and greener pastures are not everything she had hoped. Gainsbourg gives a stunning portrayal of this child on the verge of puberty, never overacting or playing for effect: the performance is understated and wholly credible. The musical score is superb with performances of the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto and the Mendelssohn Concerto adding zest. It took 19 years, but finally this delectable movie is available on DVD. Highly recommended. In French with excellent English subtitles.