Michel Gondry has always been a bit of a mixed bag. For every Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, there are seemingly two The Green Hornets. It’s enough to make one mourn the demise of the ever-prevalent music videos that first brought him to prominence. So what can you expect from his latest venture, Mood Indigo? Is it an instant classic or will it make you join the queue to have the last ninety minutes of your memory erased?
Unfortunately, it’s closer to the latter. Mood Indigo is ostensibly a romantic comedy but fails to deliver on the one necessity of such a film: the audience has to fall in love, too. Instead, we’re treated to a series of what I can only imagine were snippets out of Gondry’s journal. Make no mistake, the director is still readily capable of genius, but there’s no through line here. Many of the set pieces would have worked brilliantly in a three-and-a-half minute music video, but together they don’t amount to much.
The majority of the movie is devoted to cementing the union of two characters who appear destined for one another from the very beginning. Nothing is particularly wrong with the performances of Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou as Colin and Chloe, respectively, but they’re given little to do beyond stare at each other lovingly. Though Tautou still exhibits the same beauty of her most famous character, Amelie, she—along with the rest of the cast—are a little long in the tooth for this kind of story. Given the loopy nature of the script, perhaps it would have been better served with a younger cast.
Oh, and a better script. But that goes without saying.
Like all great love stories, we can expect that something or someone will come along with the express purpose of tearing our young (middle-aged) lovers apart. Unlike all great love stories, not only does the ending fall flat, but moviegoers may leave the theater either scratching their heads or actively angry.
For those who frown upon the act of reading during a film, be aware that Mood Indigo is subtitled from the original French. However, you shouldn’t be alarmed. Neither the plot nor the dialogue is what’s important here, and that’s a shame.
2 OUT OF 5 STARS
– Justin Cline
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