A ponderous and yakkity French film about the platonic and possibly intimate bond between a married family man and his artsy gay neighbor in a quintessentially Provençal French neighborhood, The Man of My Life spends an awful lot of time gently upsetting the sexual equilibrium of what I presume is the titular character. Frédéric (Bernard Campan) is married to a woman (Léa Drucker) who could seemingly be called his better half by virtue of the fact that they have the same name, only hers is a little more flowery: Frédérique. If there are other reasons for their matrimonial arrangement, they’re suspiciously left in the background as Frédéric gets to know Hugo (Charles Berling) while they sit on his patio in the twilight. As the two men spend more and more time together, Frédérique begins to get suspicious. The film, a purported examination of male sexuality, was directed and written by women, and thus all we get is two super-sensitive men stroking each others’ emotional baggage instead of licking each others’ testicular saggage. It’s all poetry, no hump. (Clearly I am not in the film’s target demographic. The preteen boy in me couldn’t stifle giggles when the credit for the production designer came up—Pierre Queffelean—but then again, the preteen boy in me is also currently laughing at the concept of “the preteen boy in me.”) The would-be lovers never join their genitals or even so much as swap spit, which is admittedly understandable, since to do so would require them to both shut their traps. On the other hand, one can’t help but note that the intimacy shared between the two men is precisely the sort that one might expect the women in front of the camera as well as behind to most crave. Who knows? Maybe had the two just spent a sticky, hot 15 minutes together in that countryside shed instead of sharing their life stories at great length, Frédérique might have been grateful. In any case, Hugo—who inspires Frédéric to not only whip his body into shape and not only to whip his limbs around with abandon at the discotheque, but also to hear the music of the violins and contemplate the beauty of the male-male tango—makes a pretty gay man out of his straight buddy still.
- Strand Releasing
- 114 min
- Zabou Breitman
- Zabou Breitman, Agnès de Sacy
- Bernard Campan, Charles Berling, Léa Drucker, Eric Prat, Jacqueline Jehanneuf, Aurélie Guichard, Philippe Lefebvre
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