Living on Love Alone [ 2.5 stars ]

There are few films that are as perfectly cast than director Isabelle Czajka’s French drama ‘Living on Love Alone’.
Julie Bataille (played by Anais Demoustier) is a young girl trying to hold down a steady job.   Her intentions are always good, yet Julie seems to languish in the dog eat dog world of Public Relations, and door to door selling.
And to combat her bouts of low self esteem, she engages in casual sex, which for her is an emotional output in her young life.
 
At a stage during his work experience, she happens across Ben (played by Pio Marmai) a struggling actor who seems the perfect man with a carefree lifestyle.
‘Living on Love Alone’ ambles along at a relaxing pace, at times it has a dreamlike quality, with soft cinematography and character nuances that are quite touching.  But I felt I wanted much more from this film than it delivered.  The story and decisions made by the characters are surprising and demand further investigation, yet ‘Living on Love Alone’, leaves us far to early.

However the performance of Anais Demoustier is lovely, you can feel her character trying to make it in the world, and feel the emotional crossroads she encounters.   Anais’, soft, sensitive portrayal is a hidden highlight of cinema in 2011.  
Her co-star Pio Marmai’s character is a real swooner, a magical knight in shining armour who commands his scenes with an enticing sexuality that the viewer finds hard to resist.  In particular, Pio is an actor who could have a prominent film career if he chooses his path correctly.    I found his performance to be one of the few male roles worth remembering in cinema this year.
 
Yet the real enjoyment of the film comes in the last 20 minutes, when the narrative reaches its peak and the complex characters and their not so complex decisions are carried out.   Sadly ‘Living on Love Alone’  ends where it really should have began, and you’re left with the feeling that you potentially could have seen one of the best films of the year, if it had carried on.
Director: Isabelle Czaika
Country: France
Running Time: 90 mins
Score: 2.5

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