My Sex Life...Or How I Got Into An Arguement
The best example of how well Arnaud Desplechin's witty My Sex Life... Or How I Got Into An Argument understands the messiness of young love is that at a long three hours, it still needs voiceover narration to explain all the complications. This talky observational comedy, much like an Eric Rohmer (Claire's Knee, Pauline At The Beach) movie at double-length, follows a group of beautiful Parisian hipsters who are far too self-aware to sustain decent, healthy relationships. It focuses primarily on the exploits of Mathieu Amalric, a 29-year-old graduate student unable to finish his doctoral thesis. ("You spend the first 300 pages apologizing for writing," complains his professor.) Amalric is similarly reluctant to commit to any one of the three women in his life: Emmanuelle Devos, his on-again/off-again girlfriend of 10 years; Jeanne Balibar, an emotionally volatile colleague; and Marianne Denicourt, his best friend's fiancée. By inflating the sexual gamesmanship of French twentysomethings to an epic scale, Desplechin asks a lot of his audience, and sometimes, it's exasperating to get caught up in their neurotic cycles. But for the most part, My Sex Life... moves with the assurance of a good novel, collecting the smallest details of character and striking an ironic balance between satire and real affection. True to the maddening complexities of long-term relationships, Desplechin reveals how even the most trivial fight over a hair dryer can have a devastating subtext.