out of Five
Running time: 107
A hugely enjoyable, superbly directed film with a cracking script and a terrific central performance from Romain Duris. This is one of the best films of the year.
Directed by Jacques Audiard (who made Read My Lips
), The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a French remake of James Toback’s 1978 cult debut Fingers
, which starred Harvey Keitel.
The film received huge acclaim from both audiences and critics when it screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in August and it looks set to repeat that success now that it’s getting the theatrical release it deserves.
French heartthrob Romain Duris plays Thomas Seyr, a small-time hood who occasionally does a bit of strong-arm work to assist in his father's (Niels
Arestrup) dodgy real-estate deals. A chance encounter gives Thomas the opportunity to audition for a place in a prestigious musical academy and attempt to become a famous musician, like his mother.
Thomas begins to take lessons with Miao Lin (Linh-Dan Pham), a Chinese piano virtuoso who doesn't speak a word of French. Meanwhile, Thomas becomes attracted to his best friend's regularly-cuckolded wife, Aline (the gorgeous Aure Atika) and gets caught up in his father's business.
The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a treat from beginning to end. It's beautifully shot and there’s a real sense of rhythm and energy coursing through every frame. The script is terrific too, with sharply-drawn characters and enjoyable dialogue.
Romain Duris gives a thoroughly engaging performance – we’re constantly longing for Thomas to succeed, even though the odds are stacked against him. The supporting cast are equally terrific, especially Linh-Dan Pham, who makes a huge impression despite only being able to communicate in (untranslated) Chinese.
In short, The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a terrifically entertaining film that succeeds on all levels – it’s beautifully written, superbly acted and impeccably directed. In a word, unmissable.
Beat That My Heart Skipped, The (De Battre Mon Coeur S'Est Arrete) (15)