Film Review: Passion of Young French Love Fuels ‘My Golden Days’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Feel like a French film? Well, “My Golden Days” is just the ticket. Full of existential romance, too many cigarettes, casual carnality and pathological regret, the story should come with its own beret and baguette. Rich in detail, and awash in fine European actors, the movie is a perfect anecdote for “American Exceptionalism.”

It also speaks to the trigger of memory. When youth is a faraway concept, what trips the lever of remembering? In this case, it is the post 9/11 world. The main character, a French academic diplomat, travels freely as he has throughout his entire life, until his well-worn passport activates the “watch list.” This in turn sparks his backward contemplation, and the motivations that made him. I love stuff like this…if you are of age or close to the teenagers characters entering adulthood, the ache of their young love might be too familiar for comfort. If you’re more of a geezer – like I am – it will conjure memories of the foolishness and compassion of that time of life. In either case, “My Golden Days” carves an emotional path through the maze of being.

Paul (Mathieu Amalric) is a French academic consultant, and world traveler. He is coming “home” after a diplomatic mission, when his passport is tagged on the “watch list.” He is interrogated in the stark room by a mysterious enforcer, and the memory of giving up his passport as a 19 year-old student – so a Russian man of similar age could defect – surfaces through the questioning. The twin Paul is dead, but the real Paul is caught in a web of remembrance surrounding the interrogation.

Young Paul (Quentin Dolmaire) was a restless spirit as a 20 year old man in the late 1980s, having grown up in a dysfunctional household – his mentally ill mother had committed suicide – with his brother Ivan (Raphael Cohen) and sister 
Delphine (Lily Taleb). When he meets the “love of his life,” Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet), he begins two years of triumph, sorrow and young passion – a time that old Paul would rather not relive.

“My Golden Days” has a limited release nationwide, including Chicago. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Mathieu Amalric, Quentin Dolmaire, Lou Roy-Lecollinet, and Lily Taleb. Written by Arnaud Desplechin and Julie Peyr. Directed by Arnaud Desplechin. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “My Golden Days”

Lou Roy-Lecollinet, Quentin Dolmaire
Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) and Paul (Quentin Dolmaire) Share Pillow Talk in “My Golden Days”
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “My Golden Days”

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