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A very good Performance By Melina
marantosvassilis30 August 2004
This is the story of Romain Gary. This films shows the relationship between Romain Gary and his Mother, Nina Kacew. Melina is excellent, some critics thought that she deserved an Oscar for her performance. Rex Reed named Melina as the 'Mercourial Melina'.She plays an overbearing mother, and she is excellent at this role. Her love for her son is driving her to do things that non-one else could have thought, as to write hundreds of letters to be sent to her son, daily, after her death, in order for him not to understand the loss of his mother. Melina's best friend, Despo Diamantidou plays Aniela, and Melina's husband and director Jules Dassin plays Romain's friend. It's a very good movie, based on Melina's character.
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All promises -relatively- fulfilled.
dbdumonteil4 November 2007
Based on novelist Romain Gary's biography,this is a good film by Jules Dassin .Melina Mercouri may ham it up,but here with good results for her character of a Jewish mom is really convincing,and it's the main asset of Dassin's work.The director was succumbing to the vices of European cinema of the era: the slow motion sequences ,which were very trendy then are almost unbearable today.Romain is played by no less than three different actors:Didier Haudepin (Romain at 15) was famous for his sensational part of the young boy of "les Amitiés Particulières" and Assi (aka Assaf) Dayan (Romain at 25) played opposite Anjelica Huston in the latter's father's "A walk with love and death" released the same year.

Through the pleasure and the pain,through the years she came and went...Portrait of a mother .This is probably my favorite performance by M.Mercouri.
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A single mother raises her son in impossible circumstances first in Leningrad, then Krakow and then France and is over-ambitious about him but never gives in.
clanciai22 December 2014
This is a delicate film on a delicate story, all true, the story of the author Romain Gary and his mother, a very determined but hopelessly impractical woman, who by her imagination tricks herself and her son through impossible difficulties in Leningrad, Poland and France from after the revolution to the second world war. It's one of the most famous mother portraits in the history of literature, and the film renders it justice on the whole. Jules Dassin was himself from a Russian Jewish family, he knew this background and environment by heart, and Melina Mercouri is perfect as the total mother. Jules Dassin plays himself the silent screen star and director in Leningrad and succeeds in having fun in quite a few comedy scenes. Some scenes are simply overwhelming in their human candor and beauty and are very appropriate illustrations of the book. Romain Gary himself would have been pleased with this film - it would be interesting to know if he said anything about it.
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Mercouri hams it up
eric.hermans3 November 2002
This movie should have been called An overbearing mother. Not very enjoyable as Melina Mercouri just kills every scene with her overacting.

Filmed in different styles (sometimes like a silent movie) in which it tries to reproduce the Twenties setting. The music by the usual dependable Delerue is also a disappointment.
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What he said
scarletpumpernickel19 August 2017
This is a great film, though i was relegated to watching it on YouTube.. with a 4 second delay between sound and sight.

Apart from thinking it uniquely captures the spirit of the time, I am mostly just left wondering if M. Mercouri along with a fair bit of the "female" cast were transgender. So instead of accusing her/him of "overacting", I'd tend to call it passion forged on the anvil of painful experience.., which in a sense might even be called the theme of the entire movie.
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