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Movie Review - "Just A Sigh"

Romantic French Movie - "Just A Sigh"

The pleasure of watching two superb actors (Emmanuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne) in this French film is heightened by the story’s dramatic compression. All of the action takes place within the span of a single day, on a train to Paris and within the city, and keeps its focus solely on the interactions between two characters. It is, naturally, a romantic tale, but only in the most unconventional sense.

A man and woman see one another on a train to Paris. She is coming to Paris for a film audition and he is coming from England for the funeral of an old friend. They exchange glances on the train ride just often enough so that he is emboldened to ask her for directions. As she tries to tell him how to get there, she is cut off by another passenger who provides the directions, thus ending the interaction between them. But she remembers his destination.

Her audition is brief and unsatisfying. Afterwards, she is unable to reach any of her friends by phone. Anxious for some kind of human contact, she is drawn to the church that was the destination of the man she spoke to on the train. At the church, they meet once more and begin to connect.

It develops that both of these two people are able to reveal a great deal of themselves. It is one of the great pleasures of this film that we see two characters voluntarily peel back the many layers of their personality. Yet it is equally clear that each character helps the other catalyze these revelations. This mutuality of self-revelation adds greatly to the emotional power of the film.

As a backdrop to the romantic intensity of the story, we are given the streets of Paris, as well as its buildings, bistros, and parks. All of the scenery, beautifully shot throughout the film, adds to the beauty of the experience.

“Just A Sigh” was written and directed by Jerome Bonnell, who also directed “Waiting For Someone,” another film featuring Emmanuelle Devos. “Just A Sigh” is available on streaming services.