I know this is starting out on a bit of a shallow note, but how did Gérard Depardieu ever get to a position close to a sex symbol? I know taste is taste, but for Loulou to work as a premise this question needs to be a fairly easy to answer. Then again, he would later win many awards for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac – so maybe it’s just something about his character of Loulou that turns me off.
As a film, Loulou feels a bit like a ‘nice guys’ idea of a wet dream. A woman abandons her marriage to well off man (who repeatedly see physically mistreating her) to end up with a guy fresh from prison who would rather take his pregnant girlfriend with him on a burglary than get a regular job. The reason that she gives her ex-husband is mainly around sex, which could either be to hurt him or an actual reason. Either way, it appeals to the ‘nice guy’ aesthetic.
This, as well as my own lack of understanding of the sexual appeal of bad boy Depardieu, really limits my understanding of Nelly’s motivations to throw away everything for Loulou other than just plot. So this whole film ends up feeling some sort of parable against a woman’s bad choices and that doesn’t quite sit well with me.
Maybe this is the director making some sort of criticism of French culture at the time because there’s nothing wrong with the core performances or even the dialogue. It’s just that no matter where Nelly turns she is in a situation where she may never find true happiness. You could argue the same for Loulou who ended up being tethered to a woman who he wouldn’t be able to fulfill outside of the bedroom.
So yes, this wasn’t the best film to see this morning but I have higher hopes for one of the three remaining John Ford films. He hasn’t let me down yet and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.