Newest Reviews
Quiet Place Part II, A
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Night Drive
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
  Lover, The I Like Chinese
Year: 1992
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jane March, Tony Leung, Frédérique Meininger, Arnaud Giovaninetti, Melvil Poupaud, Lisa Faulkner, Xiem Mang, Philippe Le Dem, Ann Schaufuss, Jeanne Moreau
Genre: Sex, Romance, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: A teenage schoolgirl (Jane March) in nineteen-twenties French Colonial Vietnam lives with her now-impoverished family: her widowed mother and her two brothers, the elder of whom is an obnoxious bully. The girl is glad to get away to boarding school, and on the boat over the Mekong River to Saigon she is approached by a wealthy and handsome Chinese businessman in his thirties (Tony Leung) who makes moves to strike up a conversation with her. Once he has broken the ice, he suggests that he give her a lift to the boarding house in his car, an offer she accepts. There is an obvious attraction between them, but can they overcome the social rules that are designed to keep them apart?

Well, they give it a damn good try. The Lover, or L'Amant as it was otherwise known, was an attractive-looking adaptation of Marguerite Duras' supposedly semi-autobiographical novel by director Jean-Jacques Annaud and Gerard Brach, but it enjoyed a brief spell of notoriety in Britain during the early nineties, even if it is now mainly forgotten in the mists of yesteryear's minor scandals. English star March was criticised by the tabloid press for appearing in such a sexually explicit film and subsequently nicknamed "The Sinner from Pinner", thereby neatly illustrating the mistrust the British have of arty movies featuring sex scenes. But what of the film itself, was it just a succession of moody couplings?

There is a bit more to it than that, although the moodiness is definitely present. The girl is rather blankly played by March, and any depth to the character is solely due to the voiceover supplied by an unseen Jeanne Moreau as her older self, which doesn't explain how her accent managed to change from English to French in the intervening years. There's the wistful tone of remembering a passionate but unfairly shortlived affair throughout, an affair which begins when the girl notices the Chinese man hanging around outside the school in his chauffeur driven limousine. They're desperate to see each other again, and the pair eventually meet in a bachelor room in one of the less salubrious parts of the city - which is still shot in the dreamy way that the rest of the film is shot in.

So we get the anticipated love scenes, which don't amount to much more than classy soft porn, and there's a notable lack of spark between the actors meaning you have to take their attraction largely as read. But once these parts are out of the way, the rest of the film falls a little flat, the most emotionally heated sections being the ones with the girl's ghastly family who try to exploit the Chinese man for his money, yet are hypocritically shocked to discover she is sleeping with him. It's an impossible situation, naturally, and the girl knows it, but instead of any swooning and doomed romance the whole comes across as somehow seedy - the girl tells her lover she is seventeen, but she's really fifteen and a half. And the manner in which it is all filmed is more informed by March's glassy stare than any simmering desires, with Leung charismatic but distant. It's really a coffee table book of an enterprise, pretty as a picture but just as lacking in profundity. Music by Gabriel Yared.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 6591 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: