Friday, May 18, 2012

“Nobody Else But You” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw the French drama, “Nobody Else But You” (originally released in France as “Poupoupidou”).


When an author with writer’s block stumbles across a celebrity’s death, he decides to make the story his next novel – but after realizing his life is in danger while trying to do research on the story, will he live long enough to ever have a chance to actually write the book?


While in a small, frigid town on the French/Swiss border for the reading of a relative’s will, David Rousseau, a successful crime novelist, learns of the recent death of Candice Lecoeur, a young woman who was local minor celebrity – as well as being a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe. With his publisher breathing down his neck for his next manuscript, inspiration instantaneously hits him and David chooses to make Candice’s cautionary tale the subject of his upcoming work. Rather than returning to Paris, David prolongs his stay at the small motel where he’s been struggling through a bad case of writer’s block so he can start doing a little research behind this woman’s life and tragic death.

Shortly after beginning his investigation, David begins to suspect that things are not at all what they seem – while Candice was reported as having committed suicide, he starts to believe that this is not the case. Breaking into her former home, David discovers Candice’s old diaries and proceeds to voraciously pour through them all, learning about her background and providing a certain degree of context to her life. Meeting with the town’s chief of police to discuss his concerns, David immediately runs into resistance; the chief insists the case has been closed as they have sufficient evidence to believe she died as the result of taking her own life.

David schedules a number of clandestine meetings with the policeman who originally handled the case; they both confess their doubts to each other, resulting in the two of them deciding to collaborate on looking into the details of Candice’s life in order to determine once and for all what really happened to this woman. Along the way, as they both acquire more information about Candice’s personal history, David realizes that someone doesn’t want him snooping around because he experiences some strange “accidents” from which he barely survives. But just as David believes he’s made a breakthrough in the case, should he take the safe route and quit, or continue to risk his life digging deeper into the matter?


This is something of an oddball murder mystery in the sense that the victim not only bears a striking physical resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, but also, so much of her own personal life parallels that of the late star as well. Almost a supernatural undercurrent runs along the narrative of the main story not only because of this reason, but also, because the deceased character provides a voice-over narration of the flashbacks that are brought to life from her diary entries as the character of David reads them.

While I would recommend this movie, it is with some reservations; it might be worthy of a rental or download at some point, but maybe not a flick you’d want to rush out to see in the theater (although it’s in theaters right now, it’s in something of a limited release, so finding a theater playing this movie might prove quite the challenge anyway). This film was hugely successful in its French release last year, but I suspect it will have trouble finding much – if any – audience here in the U.S., despite many American cultural references (especially the songs from its soundtrack).

To the film’s credit, the sometimes disturbing scenes are offset by a little humor – a tone set early on in “Nobody Else But You”. The movie is otherwise enjoyable to watch, provided you can stay with it; the complicated story allows the viewer easier access due to the whole Marilyn Monroe motif, which the characters explore extensively throughout. Among the misgivings I had were its ending; once the truth is revealed about the circumstances behind Candice’s death, it is unclear what impact this has on the author. While not really ruining the film by any means, its resolution might leave a few viewers a bit off-balance.


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