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"L'Auberge Espanole"

Directed by Cédric Klapisch.
Written by Cédric Klapisch.
Starring Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  7/7/03 


Well, after watching the first half of the film two weeks ago--only to have the print catch fire in the projector during my viewing--I slipped over to the Embarcadero to catch the film’s second hour last week...and, man, was it worthwhile.

You know, there IS a plot to “L’Auberge Espanole” that centers around this strange-lookin’ French dude named Xavier (Romain Duris) that has to study in Barcelona for a year in order to get this totally sweet job at some stiff firm in Paris.  So, he lives in a group house with other students and has the time of his cetera.

But, for me, all I can remember about the film is how much I love these characters, and that is what makes it one of the most coolest movies I have seen this year.  I mean, you get this shitty-looking apartment where a Brit, a Dane, a German, an Italian, Xavier and a Barcelona local are basically just hangin’ out for two hours, and it works.  I mean, it really works.  Just watching them have to deal with each other in four different languages is cool, but the characters are just so likable that you just lose track of the time--one of those rare films that really do make you want to stick around well after the lights come up in the theater, because you just want to see what other trouble they will get into or what conversation on life they are going to have next or who is gonna kiss who next or ANYTHING...just give me a little bit more.

This film reminded me a lot of my trip to Rome, because more so than the other European cities that I have visited, Rome really seemed to be a potpourri of Americans and Europeans just thrown into the mix, and whenever we went out at night you would hear some people speaking French, and some other folks speaking English, and some other folks speaking Italian, and on and on.  My friend who lives there resides with an Irish girl and an Italian girl, and she is Colombian could tell she just loved always getting perspective on things from folks from other countries, and “L’Auberge Espanole” mixes this so well that it makes you want to go out and get the group house going right now.

There’s some good laughs, a taste of the kinky stuff (this IS a foreign film, for chrissakes), some drama, and even a good ending.  But, I come out of the experience remembering only the characters and--kind of like “Cheers” or “The Simpsons” or any great TV show--that’s what makes me want to see “L’Auberge Espanole” again.  I wonder if they’ll make a sequel...

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09