Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle Screen 94 of 8 reviews

Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle

1987

Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle Poster
  • The heart of the story is the birth of art from hidden, humble, nature-inspired powers and its development by—and enrichment of—the rough-and-tumble city. Reinette’s passage from idealism to practicality, from surrealism to realism, parallels Rohmer’s own; the movie’s incipient two-woman New Wave suggests that it takes a roiling crowd to capture and nurture silence and solitude.

  • The male love interests in Rohmer’s better-known works are often the most frustrating parts, but here, in his Frances Ha prototype, he portrays a realistic female friendship that endearingly swings from quiet confrontations to comedic sketches. And if you find Rohmer too talky, just you wait until the final adventure.

  • REINETTE AND MIRABELLE is remarkable in its inverse commitment to the dictums of the Bechdel Test: here is a movie that consists of nothing other than two women talking to each other about something other than men. Reinette and Mirabelle have a greater task: to resolve through play the meaning of honor, justice, fairness, and aesthetic judgment within an unforgiving--and yet somehow, as you know, sublime--urban landscape.

  • In his unique, low-key fashion, Rohmer creates evocative, Murnau-esque lighting effects as the pair waits patiently in the darkened field in their bedclothes... The final chapter is an enormously entertaining and satisfying illustration of how far Reinette and Mirabelle have come to find each other; fast friends trade in a tenuous, circumstantial bond for a real one.

  • It features mainly non-professional actors who improvised most of the witty and frank dialogue... Rohmer’s old-school (cinematic) “new wave” chops are working in full effect here. From the shaky vérité camerawork, to long discussions about morality and art, his romantic heart is working in cruise control, delivering a film that ably stands its own ground.

  • Not part of Rohmer's "Comedies and Proverbs" series, and deliberately light and nonambitious (very little of consequence occurs in any of the tales), this nevertheless shows the filmmaker at nearly peak form—sharply attentive to the sights and sounds of country and city alike and to the temperamental differences between his two heroines.

  • Rohmer loves these girls. He deploys them like paper dolls—changing their outfits, stage-managing their meetings, organizing their spats. Given this overdetermination, what's truly extraordinary is how fresh their adventures seem to be. Reinette and Mirabelle isn't slight, it has the callowness of youth. Indeed, the underlying fifth adventure is the movie's prolonged balancing act, teetering as it does on a knife edge between contrivance and spontaneity.

  • Deeming it “Rohmer lite” will appear redundant to those who consider the late French New Wave legend’s films wispy; it will appear ill-fitting to those who consider them sublime. But as chronologically sandwiched between poignantly searching Summer (1986) and poignantly ironic Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987), Four Adventures can’t help but feel obvious and unfocused by comparison, a rare frivolity in a career of consistently yet subtly varied studies of romantic and 
philosophical dilemmas.

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