Speak to Me of Love

on August 01, 2008 by Susan Green
   The maudlin "Speak to Me of Love" is actress Sophie Marceau's maiden voyage in writing and directing a feature. Her project, about a crumbling marriage, sinks under the weight of its own tristesse. Justine (Judith Godreche, something of a Marceau look-alike) has spent 15 years with Richard (Niels Arestrup), a dissipated writer easily twice her age. The film does not really scrutinize this Electra complex other than with interminable soft-focus memories that show how much, as a little girl, she missed her absentee father.

   The couple has three young sons whom Justine adores; Richard's relationship with the boys is unclear. A heavy drinker, he has never forgiven her for some earlier indiscretions. They fight. Their sex life is nil. She decides enough is enough. From that point on, Marceau observes their lonely sorrow with long, slow takes of everyday activity. Very long. Very slow. As romantic sludge, "Speak to Me of Love" speaks volumes about why Marceau should remain in front of the camera.    Starring Judith Godreche, Niels Arestrup, Laurence Fevrier, Jean-Marie Frin, Louis Alexandre Lucotte and Anne Le Ny. Directed and written by Sophie Marceau. Produced by Alain Sarde. No distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 98 min.

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