The Man of My Life


Like so many real-life dramas, this one begins with a married couple inviting a gay neighbor over for dinner. The husband and the neighbor spend the night discussing life and love, and as may be inevitable when two slender Frenchmen (Bernard Campan and Charles Berling) while away the wee hours on a Provençal balcony, begin to fall for each other. Their prolonged, subtle attraction culminates perfectly, which is to say, without so much as a kiss. Zabou Breitman’s film about the ways we love and fail each other calls for such understatement throughout, and sometimes we get it: in a lingering touch on the neck, or a quick departure from a room. All too often, though, characters bandy about platitudes like they’re tennis balls (“I am fragile,” one declares. “We are not invincible.”) or get emotional for no reason. Other moments are too subtle: Why is there a string quartet in a shack, and how does it then wind up in a field? But at least the field looks pretty. The film’s arresting beauty—shots of a curtain blowing into a shadowed stairwell, or a meadow of sunflowers, or a head resting on a shoulder—is nearly enough.