François Truffaut direct Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade and Hiroko Matsumoto in this French comedy where Antoine Doinel enjoys married life… until he doesn’t.
Slighter than the previous entries, this starts out as a pleasingly gentle courtyard comedy. Léaud’s feckless drifter tries out some childish jobs (dyeing flowers, remote controlling boats for an architect’s model) with wavering success. His relationship with his young wife feels more like kids playing house than an adult relationship. Just witness the moment they feed each other baby food for dinner. But he grows restless… disrespecting her and having his head turned by a Japanese client. The uncomfortably darker third act where Antoine makes some awful decisions and suffers the fallout lands us back near the toxic domestic relationships we saw from his child eye’s view back in The 400 Blows. The Tati inspired visual playfulness gives way to strops, self pity and alienation. We end on a downer. Stand out here is Claude Jade as his nymph-like wife. She didn’t really register in Stolen Kisses but here she demands as much of our attention and affections as Léaud himself. When he begins his affairs and you know her heart might be broken by the betrayal you grow to hate the quirky boy we have been following for over 3 and half movies now!
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