“I always get interested in girls who aren’t right for me.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
As for the story itself, Peary notes that “alienated French youth” at the time “could identify with Belmondo’s casual lawbreaker and his disloyal girlfriend”, “lovers who act impetuously without regard to consequences”. More mature audiences, however, may find Michel (Belmondo) less a “hero” than simply a shiftless thug who deserves jail time for the murder he so callously commits at the beginning of the film; at the very least, he deserves the cool reception he receives from “beautiful, dimpled Seberg”, who “is his match as the hard-bitten, free-spirited American expatriate who is afraid of commitment and emotionally vacuous”. Seberg — though extremely photogenic (see stills below) — was never a great actress, and her French accent here is so godawful that it’s a major distraction (though to be fair, her reading surely wasn’t helped any by the fact that Godard gave his actors their lines the day of shooting). Her character’s motivations (or lack thereof) are just as enigmatic as Belmondo’s, and thus we never really understand her or relate to her in any depth. While Breathless is far too important cinematically to miss seeing, don’t be surprised if it leaves you strangely cold.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)