Mia Hansen-Løve / France / 2011 / 110 min
Goodbye First Love is the clearly autobiographical second film by Mia Hansen-Løve. A fairly plotless tale of a young girl’s first romance, the film is about coming of age and maturity. It opens with fifteen year old Camille (Lola Créton) and her college boyfriend Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) who enjoy a passionate sexual relationship. Camille is consumed by the relationship whereas Sullivan craves experiences and soon abandons her to go on a ten month trip with some friends. Despite the fact that she finds love and comfort in the arms of her architecture teacher, when Sullivan reappears after eight years, she is drawn to him once more.
This film is absolutely not the nostalgic, rose tinted glasses type film that one would expect. Camille is whiny and clingy, and a rather unlikeable character; and Sullivan is cruel to her at times, though audience sympathy almost certainly lies with him. However, his character is so underdeveloped that it’s hard to understand why he begins tearfully telling Camille that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. While the two actors have clear chemistry, it’s tough to keep interest and focus on the tasteful landscapes and unfinished scenes that dominate this film. A film about love quite obviously depends on winsome characters, and sadly, Hansen-Løve just doesn’t have them.
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