FILM REVIEW / REVIEW – Carine Tardieu tells a universal love story in “Les Jeunes Amants”, a tender and elegant film carried by fine writing and an exceptional cast.
The Young Loversspecial story for an ageless love(s)
With The Young Lovers, Carine Tardieu faces at least two challenges. An artistic issue, that of the cinematic treatment of the state of love, and a more specific issue of transmission. Indeed, the story of the film, an older woman and a younger man who fall in love with each other, is at the origin of a personal account by Icelandic-American filmmaker Sólveig Anspachwho died in 2015. Indeed, this story was that of her mother, and Sólveig Anspach had started developing the film a year before her death.
Love on one side and death on the other, which hovers in all life as it hovers in The Young Lovers. The task was not the easiest, but director Carine Tardieu, after Taking away my doubt in 2017, succeeds with its great cast a tender and elegant love drama, where an intimate passion blends with the universal.
Fanny Ardant and Melvil Poupaud deliver a great performance
The meeting is at first fortuitous, in the palliative care of a hospital where Shauna (Fanny Ardant) meets Pierre (Melvil Poupaud). He is a doctor there, and she is at the bedside of a dying friend, who is none other than the mother of Pierre’s best friend. A brief moment is enough for Pierre to be permanently disturbed by Shauna. Fifteen years later, they meet again. She is 71 years old, lives alone in Paris, he 45, in Lyon with his wife and their two children, but their love will be born with the speed and brightness of evidence.
The actress and the actor, models of seduction for years in French cinema, make their respective characters natural lovers, two beings who find each other completely and who therefore do not need to do too much. The seduction is immediate, the exchanges are concise and fair, the kisses delicate and the caresses harmonious, the silences and the looks explicit. There is no age to love neither his own nor that of the other, and it is therefore in the eyes of their respective entourage that this love becomes problematic, violent, difficult to accept.
love to fix the world
The strength of the writing and directing of The Young Lovers is to allow the creation of a bubble, where two individuals will build a pretty and pleasant solitude for two. Their loved ones and the reality of the world however indicate, even unconsciously, that there is perhaps something unnatural. Shauna is approaching old age and her health is suffering, Pierre is going through old mourning that he has not entirely done and cannot hide this relationship from his wife Jeanne (Cécile de France). There is Georges (Sharif Andorra), Pierre’s best friend and colleague while being his opposite, who doesn’t really understand his friend. There is still Cécilia (Florence Loiret-Caille), Shauna’s daughter who is single and does not know if she will find love again.
True love does not ask or order anything, true love exists without being able to question it. That’s what it says The Young Lovers, and explains why, by themselves, the brilliant secondary characters are those who activate the drama, ask the questions, react, and therefore make the exceptional character of this love. The cruelty then is not that of a relationship that cannot last long, but rather that of those who do not know this extraordinary love.
Are Pierre’s feelings as pure as he thinks? Besides, does Shauna herself believe in a future for this love? This is the question that the depth of the film makes appear at its end. Indeed, he is a cancer doctor, suffers from an old death, and there is in his feeling as a personal and professional distortion of his ambition to keep people alive. Pierre is thus all the more moving, revealing painful loneliness that only a transcendent love can abolish. He won’t be able to save Shauna from the passage of time and her horrors, and so he may have to love himself a little more, to complete this enchanted interlude.
young lovers, by Carine Tardieu, in theaters February 2, 2022. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.