Finally, it’s over. No, not finally, sadly. This film is an epic but it doesn’t drag, it doesn’t bore. Even the play within a play is well done. Justice prevails in one sense and love lingers on, in another sense.
Two great lines popped up, too. The first : “Actors aren’t people. They are everyone and no one.” Frederick is really no one, only coming to life when he is on stage. Even when he is experiencing the pain of jealousy, he is using it to create a better stage performance. When Garance sympathizes with his pain, he insists that it’s not all bad. ‘At least I will be able to play Othello!” Inspiration is born in the midst of his pain. Frederick is probably the most likable character in the movie. Harmless, emotional, wearing his heart on his sleeve, he isn’t anything other than what he seems to be, unlike the brooding and dangerous Pierre.
The second quote sums up love in so many ways : “Not only are you rich, you want to be loved like you were poor”. Garance, probably the wisest character in the film, says this to de Montray in the scene where she reveals her love of someone. Garance has life and love figured out completely. It seems she would rather love from afar and pop back into Baptiste’s life when she feels the strain of missing him too intensely. All of this was before online relationships, too!
Love is complicated, painful and invigorating and, at least to the characters in Les Enfants du Paradis, it is all there is to life. Even the Comte de Montry, who has everything feels totally incomplete without the love of Garance. Baptiste lives his life thinking only of Garance and the regret that he didn’t seize the opportunity when he had it. “Love is simple” says Garance but, as we find out in this classic movie, love is anything but simple.
Take the time to watch this movie. You won’t regret it.