Under the Rainbow
Film Title: Under the Rainbow/Au Bout du Conte
Director: Agnes Jaoui
Starring: Agathe Bonitzer, Arthur Dupont, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Agnes Jaoui
Running Time: 112 min
Be warned. We are issuing a top-level quirk alert. This is not a drill.
To be fair, the latest ho-hum French comedy from Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri (creators of the Oscar-nominated The Taste of Others) does not leave the viewer in any doubt as to its intent. We actually begin with a fantastic dream sequence, and elements of the unreal creep in throughout the film’s unwieldy 112 minutes.
Back on earth, Under the Rainbow tells us the story of a romance between Laura (Agathe Bonitzer), young and untouched, and Sandro (Arthur Dupont), a hopeful composer. They decide to get married, but Laura soon decides that an older, more roguish music critic (Benjamin Biolay) has more to offer in the way of oomph.
Other stories spin round Laura and her lovers. Her aunt (Agnes Jaoui), is taking driving lessons from Sandro’s father (Jean-Pierre Bacri). The latter, though he pretends otherwise, can’t stop thinking about a clairvoyant’s recent prediction of his death date.
In the film-makers’ defence, the picture doesn’t look or sound like the work of anybody else. The artistic milieu nearly reminds one of the novels of Robertson Davies. The smart-smart dialogue doesn’t quite hit the same beats Woody Allen’s. The very French sense of antic mischief is almost like the work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Mind you, Under the Rainbow is such a stylistically uneven film that one Flighty one minute, fantastic the next, it has a fidgetiness to it that too often becomes irritating. Yet the intertwining of the two generations is nicely carried off by a cast not short on charm and verve. Bacri is particularly poignant as a man who can’t quite tell the truth to himself. The chemistry between Bonitzer and Dupont fairly fizzles off the screen.
So, yes, it’s quirky, but not intolerably so.