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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life(Gainsbourg (vie héroïque))

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France · 2010
2h 10m
Director Joann Sfar
Starring Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon, Laetitia Casta, Doug Jones
Genre Drama

Writer-director Joann Sfar blends live action and animation in this portrait of the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, from his childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris, through his rise to fame in the 1960s, and his relationships with Juliette Gréco, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, to his death in 1991, at the age of 62.

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What are critics saying?


Time Out by

Despite the attention the film pays to the divide between the man as the ungainly, loving second-gen immigrant versus the boozy provocateur, it's not a portrait of much psychological depth.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The puppets and the music make Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life engaging, but it is also visually hectic and lacks either the dramatic intensity or the arresting insight that might have lifted it out of the pedestrian realm of the admiring biopic.


Slant Magazine by Bill Weber

Handsomely mounted and shot with an eye for nocturnal Parisian mystery by Guillaume Schiffman, Gainsbourg somewhat mercifully peters out after the grande scandale of the provocateur's reggae version of "La Marseillaise," which earned him the wrath of French patriots.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

The movie turns terminally wearisome and even anti-climactic with the triumph of the brain-lodging "Je T'aime" (which, alone among the movie's numbers, is heard in its original version) and Gainsbourg's descent into alcoholic dissolution.


Variety by Jordan Mintzer

Both evocative and faithful in its depiction of the famed French singer's lascivious life, "Gainsbourg (vie heroique)" offers up a feast of memorable chansons and an almost endless parade of drop-dead-gorgeous muses.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

What's surprising, and ultimately disappointing, about Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is the degree to which Sfar allows biopic obligations to smother his more whimsical instincts.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

While an iconic figure in France, Gainsbourg isn't a household name here in the States. But that shouldn't stop audiences from enjoying Sfar's good-looking, fanciful film.


Boxoffice Magazine by Wade Major

Despite its ultimate lack of profundity, Gainsbourg is certain to still be a sufficiently engaging and meaningful experience to enthrall the initiated while stimulating the curiosity of the uninitiated.

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