That is initially what I thought after watching the movie this past weekend. I didn’t feel that the movie was particularly engaging, the storyline felt like it dragged on, and the cinematics were not what I expected from the film. I’m not saying I expected to have my mind completely blown, but I really just felt like that aspect of the movie (the cinematography) was a little lacking in capturing my attention.
I tried to keep an open mind during the film and concentrate on something that I liked about it to keep me going. I will say that the attention to detail was very nice. I felt like I got a complete picture as to what was happening (at least from Antoine’s point of view). The end was just incredibly frustrating (as it was probably supposed to be). It offered no resolution whatsoever, and I just found myself feeling like I was cheated out of my last hour and forty minutes of viewing.
Reading the paper, however, I got a bit more of an appreciation for the film. Some of the cinematic techniques were “new” in this movie are probably ones that I have grown accustomed to. The part about the psychiatrist scene was also rather eye-opening. It made me really appreciate the acting of Jean-Pierre Léaud. The fact that the scene was stitched together pretty seamlessly, and the fact that Léaud was given free reign in that scene are really pretty impressive after some reflection. The fact that knowing the movie was also low-budget, helped me to appreciate it more. It seemed like Truffaut really took some risks with production and allowing the actors a little bit of freedom.
What also was really impressive to me was the fact that Truffaut tied in so much of his life into this movie. This was one instance of a critique reading that I could definitely agree with. With a tip of the hat to intentionalism, I really felt like the background on the author helped the story to be that much more impressive, particularly the simultaneous homage to René (the sibling he never was able to meet) and the dig at his parents.
I also didn’t feel like the movie was over the top or unbelievable as well. It did feel a bit like Antoine was a bit more independent and self-sufficient than someone his age may have been, but you later find out that he probably had a lot of growing up to do early on in his life.
I can’t say this is a movie that I would want to revisit, especially knowing what the ending holds, but I can definitely appreciate Truffaut as a director after seeing this movie. I would still have appreciated some more of a directed closure at the end of the movie despite the alleged “Italian neorealist story ambiguity”.