STORY OF MY LIFE, THE
Raphaël (Edouard Baer) is a glib but talented author who has built a career out of ghost-writing autobiographies for French celebrities. He's happily dating Muriel (Marie-Josée Croze), but life changes when he starts writing a book on soccer superstar Kevin (Clovis Cornillac). Wading through Kevin's monumental ego and strange creative notions is a challenge in itself, but what really sets Raphael's mind off course is the discovery that Kevin is dating Claire (Alice Taglioni), the object of Raphael's unrequited college affection.
Review by Louise Keller:
'Cowardice is the worst flaw in men after mediocrity,' the disarmingly honest Muriel (Marie-Josée Croze), tells her boyfriend Raphaël Jullian (Edouard Baer), as he prolongs his tooth brushing routine with unprecedented vigour. It is one of many searingly truthful moments in this highly observant French film whose topics may be serious, but whose tone is philosophically quirky. From the profound to the ridiculous, The Story of My Life is meaningful without being earnest, hilarious but always grounded in reality.
An autobiography ghost writer to famous people, Raphael is expert at being invisible. 'Think about the cheque,' his agent tells him, but apart from getting no recognition for writing the books, he is nondescript when it comes to his emotional affairs, revealing little of any consequence about himself in his relationships. Baer, with a rustic stubble and perpetual quizzical look, is like a favourite teddy bear - one you want to take home and care for. His Raphaël treads the middle ground between his two diametrically different best friends.
There are amusing fast tracked sequences as we see successful, pragmatic businessman Max (Jean-Michel Lahmi) speed dating, while ideologist and would-be photo-journalist Jeff (Eric Berger), shows he never has the courage of his own convictions. When Raphaël meets his new book subject, football captain Kevin (Clovis Cornillac), he recognises that here is someone who is the epitome of everything he despises. Kevin is arrogant, ignorant and dumbly suggests a writing style for him to implement, and even a play-on-words, corny book title ('How To Score'). The fact that Kevin is dating Claire (Alice Taglioni), for whom Raphaël is carrying a torch, is almost too much to bear. Cornillac who won Best Supporting Actor at the Cesar Awards, is superbly irritating in a role Sergi Lopez might have played. Though Raphaël dreams of Claire, Muriel (Croze at her best) is the best thing in his life, encouraging him to reveal his true self.
There's a comical flash-back that includes a car ride in the country, a fumbling kiss and a wild boar, plus a memorable dinner party for four, when circumstances and confrontations spew irrevocably over the relationships. The film is as delightful as it is fresh, revealing human foibles with a sincere but light touch.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I might have overdosed on French romantic comedies of the tortuous variety, because I find The Story of My Life a laboured and messy film, while recognising its merits in some quarters. Notable for performances, the film is adept at the kind of engaging charm that comes from painful truths about men, women, love, lust and relationships. But it's an episodic and lurching film, too, disquieting with its changes of mood and shifts of perspective.
The romance between Raphael (Edouard Baer) and Muriel (Marie-Josée Croze) that propels the film is not very satisfying, and Raphael's vapid approach to life is definitely a downer. The intrusion of Claire (Alice Taglioni), as a romantic red herring serves no real purpose and the resolution is not only far too pat and sudden but schmaltzy to boot.
There are a few too many false notes in both character and story to capture my imagination and when I feel irritated by the entire range of characters I know the film has lost me.
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STORY OF MY LIFE, THE (M)
Mensonges et trahisons et plus si affinités...
CAST: Edouard Baer, Marie-Josée Croze, Clovis Cornillac, Alice Taglioni, Eric Berger, Jean-Michel Lahmi, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Raphaël Fuchs-Willig
PRODUCER: Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier
DIRECTOR: Laurent Tirard
SCRIPT: Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gilles Henry
EDITOR: Valérie Deseine
MUSIC: Philippe Rombi
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alain Guffroy
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 16, 2006