4 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Another beautifully detailed film from Leconte (“Ridicule,” “Monsieur Hire”), “The Girl on the Bridge” is a moving, fascinating film about fate, luck … and second chances. Shot in black and white to mimic the feel of a Fellini road movie, the story follows its two marginal characters through a series of increasingly stretching experiences as they discover who they are and what they need.
The beautifully written and played opening scene is on a bridge in Paris, where Adele (Paradis) is about to jump into the Seine but is rescued by Gabor (Auteuil), a charming, fast-talking circus knife thrower, who recruits Adele as his new target because, hey, she has nothing to lose! But the two are bound by a kind of luck, and as they travel and work together, they realise that as a team they can do anything. But what will happen if they separate … if Adele’s nympho ways get the better of her, and if Gabor lapses into another deep depression?
Laconte assembles the film economically–it only drags briefly in the protracted final sequence. The story moves along from lucky break to startling coincidence, all of which have an impact on the central duo, who are very nicely played by Auteuil (always excellent) and Paradis (a surprisingly meaty, touching performance). There’s a sharp sting of life here, as these witty characters try to plot their way through life. And the film’s style avoids most tired movie cliches adeptly, although the magical neo-realism can be a bit wearing if you’re unable to suspend your disbelief for 90 minutes. Otherwise, it’s a delightful break from the norm … and it has some very nice things to say about how we need each other.

Posted on April 22, 2003 in Reviews by

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