Review: Just a Sigh

17:00, Jul 26 2014
STARING CONTEST: Don't expect witting conversations from Emmanuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne in Just a Sigh.

Known in its native France by far less depressing sounding Time for Adventure, this romantic-drama is a strange cross between Le Weekend and Before Sunset.

Forty-three-year-old struggling actress Alix (Coco Before Chanel's Emmanuelle Devos) is travelling from Calais back to her native Paris when her eye catches that of sad-looking English literature professor Doug (Gabriel Byrne).

After giving him directions to the church he is seeking (and seemingly having missed her chance), she heads off to her flat and her audition without giving him another thought.

But when she can't raise her boyfriend and her interview goes rather pear-shaped, Alix decides to head for the church to see what fate might bring her.

Writer-director Jerome Bonnell, whose other films have also looked at loneliness and love, here can't quite seem to nail down a consistent tone.

Just a Sigh veers from slapstick comedy to domestic drama and slightly creepy stalking as Alix seems at a loss about what to do with her day.


Also, what made the seemingly similar-themed Before movies so good was the conversations and scenery, neither of which are present here, as Byrne (sporting a permanent hang-dog look) and Devos spend most of their time indoors and either staring at or fondling one another.

At times, the tale threatens to come to life, especially when opening out Alix's back story, but for the most part this is 100 minutes spent in less than enthralling company.

Just a Sigh (M) 101 mins

Sunday Star Times