Dreamlife of Angels

Bomb Rating: 

What the French think is good cinema is the kind of stuff Americans see at shopping malls every day.

Trying to figure out what this title means could easily make up theentirety of any review given that nobody on Earth probably has the slightest clue. It might have to do with writer/director Erick Zonca's misdirected compassion for the tribulations of everyday life of his two main characters, Isa (Élodie Bouchez) and Marie (Natacha Régnier), but it's just as likely that the distribution company hired a translator from the local temp agency who mutilated "Two Girl Roommates in France" into "Dreamlife with Angels."

What the French think is good cinema is the kind of stuff Americans see at shopping malls every day. You know, Pa Jones is yelling at the top of his lungs at Ma Jones because she's purchased the wrong brand of toilet paper. Basically, the reasonable person walks by this fiasco, embarrassed to be part of the same species as these people while the French line up at the theater to see the whole damn thing dramatized in film.

That's why in "Dreamlife of Angels" Zonca spends all this time in the northern industrial town of Lille following Isa and Marie, who become roommates after they meet in a clothing factory. Neither of them is getting by in life too well. Isa sells these cards that she makes while Marie lives in the apartment of some girl who's in a coma.

If you're eager to categorize this film, psychological mystery might be close, although it's pretty obvious from the beginning that Marie hates life while Isa embraces it. This hatred becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when Marie starts going out with a jackass of a nightclub owner (Grégoire Colin) and we can see how this will end badly but Marie, dreaming of the impossible, can't see it at all. It's the type of movie that posits that life is a car wreck and we all ought to slow down and check it out.

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