“Only a wagging tongue bites itself.”
While spending the summer at the beach in Normandy, a beautiful young divorcee (Arielle Dombasle) and her 14-year-old cousin Pauline (Amanda Langlet) become involved in complex romantic entanglements.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Eric Rohmer Films
- French Films
- Romantic Comedy
After completing his cycle of “Six Moral Tales” (which ended with 1972’s Chloe in the Afternoon), French New Wave director Eric Rohmer embarked on a new cinematic series entitled “Comedies and Proverbs”; Pauline at the Beach is the third of these six films. A surprisingly breezy sex farce with an undercurrent of philosophical contemplation, Pauline… remains one of Rohmer’s most enjoyable and accessible outings — indeed, it was enormously successful upon its release in America (thanks in part, no doubt, to a poster depicting sexy Arielle Dombasle in a close-cut bathing suit). As usual in Rohmer’s low-budget films, the narrative consists primarily of long shots with characters conversing, and not many “action” scenes; the emphasis instead is on exploring the diverse ways in which humans approach sex and love, and how this inevitably leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. The final exchange in the movie — between Pauline (wonderfully played by the worldly-wise Amanda Langlet) and Marion (Dombasle) — reveals that Marion will likely continue to delude herself in affairs of the heart, while Pauline has learned some valuable lessons from the adults around her on how not to approach romance.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Amanda Langlet as Pauline
- Arielle Dombasle as Pauline’s sexy but clueless cousin, Marion
- Feodor Atkine as womanizing Henry
- An effective look at females of different ages struggling to understand love and sex
- Pauline reacting to Henry’s “innocent” caresses
Yes. This surprisingly light-hearted romantic comedy is one of Rohmer’s most enjoyable movies, and should be seen by all film fanatics.