Shifting back and forth in time is just the perfect choice for a film about the life of Edith Piaf, considering that the starting point in the narrative is in her final weeks of life, which she spent slipping in and out of consciousness, remembering moments from her childhood and youth, confusing past with present. From all the films I’ve seen using this technique, in the case of La Môme it is probably justified in the best way.
In addition to this rather technical aspect, there are plenty of other reasons to see this film. Here are just a few:
- A revealing and touching look at Edith Piaf’s life, beyond the unique voice and the iconic image that mesmerized French and worldwide audiences throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s.
- Sketching a portrait that looks profoundly real and does not make a selection of “best of” moments from the artist’s life. We see her struggles with mental instability, her morphine and alcohol addiction, and what probably strikes most, her drunken and vulgar speeches in classy restaurant, her working class habits that – even late in her career – make her seem more like a sleazy-bar type of singer than like the star of famous theatre L’Olympique.
- Marion Cotillard is simply amazing. Her pose, her accent, the way she shouts “Tout le monde dehors!”, the thin black crayon eye-brows that make her look like a sad clown in late years, how she uses her hands when she sings, how she shouts and curses and acts like a spoiled queen who will do exactly as she pleases.
- The Oscar is very well deserved! Cotillard’s make-up team is also totally worthy of the award, masterfully rendering how Edith Piaf’s image evolved from her early 20s to her late 40s when she died.