Movies »Murmur of the Heart

Murmur of the HeartWith the new resurgence of raunchy sex comedies, it's worth noting that the tradition began long before American Pie and Superbad, and even before Joysticks and Porky's. Not a comparison I was expecting to make of this masterpiece by Louis Malle, director of the tense (and previous pick) Elevator to the Gallows and the painfully sad Au Revoir Les Enfants – a film that introduced me at a young age to the atrocities of humanity … although to be fair, the film is more along the lines of a dirtier Woody Allen than anything Jason Biggs might star in.

But at heart, as the trailer proudly exclaims “This is not your papa's movie”, this is a raunchy tale of sexual awakening and adolescence, balanced gracefully with equal parts witty French sophistication, coming of age bittersweetness, and a troubling tale of incest. Yes, that too I didn't see coming and it's fair to warn you that even 36 years after its release, Murmur of the Heart is still as shocking as it is delightful – a difficult combination to pull off, but Malle manages.

The young actor, Benoit Ferreux, playing precocious Laurent is flawless and speaks volumes with one confused look; his mother, a fiery unconventional Italian babe, is handled with care by actress Lea Massari; and his two wildly devious brothers, “the idiots”, as they are referred to by their father, offer many laughs and I suggest that they may have inspired the twin Weasleys from Harry Potter.

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Posted on August 20, 2007

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  • From PingbackMurmur of the Heart | Rotating Corpse on November 17, 2009 at 7:48 am

    […] from Louis Malle’s raunchy, touching and controversial coming of age classic. Read a full review here. See more fashions including stiff collars and Boy Scout uniforms after the […]