Published on November 24th, 2014 | by Brad0
Mood Indigo – Film Review
Mood Indigo (L’Écume des jours: literally, “The Foam of Days”, but really “Froth on the Daydream”) is the latest film from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), starring Romain Duris (The Beat that My Heart Skipped) and Audrey Tautou (Amelie). Based on the 1947 novel by Boris Vian, it tells the story of Colin (Duris), a well-to-do young man who romances a young woman Chloe (Tautou) and the effect on their relationship after she falls ill with a water lily growing in her lung.
Anyone who’s seen Gondry’s work before knows that he’s a very stylish director, and he gets to really cut loose here. Colin’s apartment is practically a living organism, with stop-motion animated objects moving about the place. The colour in the opening scenes pops, creating an other-worldly sense of whimsy and bon vivant. As Chloe falls ill, the colours become more muted, with the final scenes of the film in black and white, following the drop in mood. The apartment decays supernaturally, becoming more closed-in and ramshackle as the colour drains out of it. It’s a daring conceit which can go very horribly wrong, but Gondry commits so completely to the tone throughout that it works completely.
Duris and Tautou are wonderful, as you might expect. The supporting cast include Nicolas (Omar Sy), Colin’s live-in manservant, who’s also a lawyer, social celebrity and dancer. Sy is a great presence, and should have had more to do in X-Men: Days of Future Past really. Colin’s best friend is Chick, a devoted follower of the philosopher Jean-Sol Patre (boom boom!) who spends all of his time and money on all things Patre, to the chagrin of his girlfriend Alise, niece to Nicolas. As the film opens, they’re all light and whimsical, but as it progresses, they follow in the draining of colour into something more tragic. The performances are top-notch throughout.
Mood Indigo is a wildly visually inventive film, deftly balancing itself between comedy and drama. It’s very, very French, but if you’re into Gondry or Jean-Pierre Jeunet, you’ll like this a lot. It’s very whimsical, and there’s a lot where you basically have to throw your hands and roll with it, but it’s rewarding. Very funny, very moving, and an absolute delight to look at. Mood Indigo is available on BluRay and DVD in the UK from today; I recommend it.