Pauline at the Beach

Watch Pauline at the Beach

  • R
  • 1983
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.3  (10,419)

Pauline at the Beach is a 1983 French romantic comedy-drama film directed by famed auteur Eric Rohmer. The plot focuses on the titular character Pauline, a 15-year-old girl who, along with her older cousin Marion, spends a summer holiday in a seaside resort in Normandy. The visually stunning feature ponders on the themes of love, friendship, social conventions, and moral dilemmas.

The physical beauty of the location perfectly complements the complex emotional landscape of the characters. Rohmer turns the lens towards the complexities and insecurities which human beings face, particularly in times when they're idle and aiming to enjoy their time off from their daily routine. The film explores the dynamics of adolescence as well as sexual identity and gender norms. It depicts the tensions that arise when people are in new surroundings, among strangers, who may or may not share their values and beliefs.

Amanda Langlet plays the role of Pauline, an intelligent, charming, and curious teenage girl who is on the cusp of growing into adulthood. She is the heart and soul of the film, and the narrative concentrates on her experiences and emotions. She is portrayed as a bright, sweet, and independent person, who is fascinated by everything around her, particularly how adults interact with one another.

Arielle Dombasle plays the role of Marion, Pauline’s vivacious, free-spirited and promiscuous cousin, who has escaped to the beach with her younger relative to recover from the heartbreak of her failed marriage. The audience sees the differences in the characters, particularly concerning their experience with romantic relationships. Marion is somewhat cynical after her divorce, while Pauline is unencumbered by her past relationships and views everything with a unique perspective.

Pascal Greggory plays the third primary character - Henri, a handsome and charming divorcé. Bored and alone, he becomes interested in both Marion and Pauline, leading the two women into a complex romantic affair. He navigates the fine line between romantic charm and hedonism, using his wit and good looks to persuade Marion to go on dates with him, while simultaneously drawing the innocent Pauline into a love triangle.

The screenplay is one of the strong points of the film, being witty, engaging, and evocative. Rohmer allows his characters to speak for themselves, not resorting to clichés or conventions of the traditional romantic comedy. Instead, he is enquiring about the choices people make when they face temptation, as well as the bigger picture of societal norms and values. The dialogues and monologues are finely crafted and perfectly delivered by the actors, with sharp comments and intense introspective moments.

Rohmer has a rare talent for letting the natural environment dictate the mood of his films. He masterfully juxtaposes the exquisite vistas of the beach with the internal drama of his protagonists, creating a potent atmosphere of both joy and melancholy. He employs shallow focus and long takes to highlight the subtleties of the performances, and the camerawork perfectly captures the striking landscapes of the region. The eye-catching cinematography has a dreamlike quality, at times transcendent, but always grounded in the reality of the characters' emotional states.

Overall, Pauline at the Beach is a charming, engaging film, perfectly executed, with strong performances from its lead actors, haunting visuals and an insightful and well-written screenplay. Rohmer's skillful observations of human nature and the problems of growing up make this timeless story a must-watch for aspiring filmmakers and movie enthusiasts. The film is light-hearted comedy-drama that, by examining the nuances of the human condition, delivers an immersive and thought-provoking experience, leaving its audience yearning for more.

Pauline at the Beach
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (10,419)