“I’m afraid of everything — birds, storms, lifts, needles — and now, this great fear of death.”
Cleo (a stage name, short for “Cleopatra”) is clearly a pampered woman, someone who is inordinately obsessed with her own appearance and self-worth; early in the film, she petulantly demands that a taxi driver turn off the radio when one of her hit songs is on (complaining about its technical quality), then later, in a cafe, punches her song into the jukebox machine and pouts when no one seems to be listening. In essence, she’s not a very likable protagonist, and this is the film’s primary fault — despite Cleo’s potentially life-threatening disease, we never feel much sympathy for her, and can’t help wondering whether the entire affair is simply a psychosomatic plea for attention. Over the course of the film, Cleo evolves ever so slightly, even taking off her fancy hairpiece and allowing a strange soldier to flirt with her and learn her real name; by this time, however, it’s too late, and one leaves the film with more memories of Cleo’s excursions throughout Paris than of Cleo herself.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)