A GOOD MARRIAGE (1982)
Directed by: Eric Rohmer
Starring: Beatrice Romand, Andre Dussolier, Arielle Dombasle
Where: Busan Cinematheque
When: February 20 at 13:00, February 25 at 17:20
I’ve already gushed over Eric Rohmer enough in the past two weeks (see previous posts), so I’ll try to keep this relatively brief. Like most of the other films in the “Comedies and Proverbs” cycle, “A Good Marriage” is a charming reflection on the precarious nature of male-female relationships.
After swearing off married men, Sabine (Beatrice Romand) gets it in her head to wed her best friend’s cousin, Edmond (Andre Dussolier). As a handsome and successful lawyer, he has all of the characteristics of a perfect husband. The only problem is he doesn’t know about the protagonist’s hasty plan for their future together. The film follows her unwavering courtship of what increasingly seems to be a lost cause.
“A Good Marriage” is much more character-driven than any of Rohmer’s other works. The person in question here is a veritable princess who has to have everything her way. If not, she doesn’t hesitate to make a scene. In the middle of her 25th birthday party, Sabine resorts to locking herself up in her room to cry, and just barely falls short of shouting “it’s my birthday, I can do what I want to” - all because her crush didn’t show up in time. In her view, once she’s established that she wants something, there’s no reason for anybody to prevent her from getting it. Her stubborn behavior is only one of many unattractive qualities that eventually come to light.
The protagonist doesn’t beat around the bush, and on multiple occasions, she acknowledges her own straitforward attitude. What could be perceived as a strength, however, is really her biggest weakness. She’s glaringly obvious and overly persistent in her advances from the get-go, frequently making Edmond uncomfortable. These awkward exchanges make up the film’s most entertaining moments.
While Sabine sometimes comes off as bratty, immature and garrulous, she isn’t repulsive. Despite her flaws, there’s a lot of appeal in this sassy, opinionated woman, and the audience ultimately cheers her on. Maybe it’s just because she’s an underdog. It becomes pretty clear she doesn’t stand much of chance, but she sticks to the same strategy unflinchingly. It’s hard not to commend such a strong-willed trooper for her valiant efforts.
The combination of all these traits along with an unshakeable confidence and determination are at the root of the main character’s impetuous decision to get hitched, which pushes the story forward. Yet, “A Good Marriage” isn’t really about marriage at all - the movie is a fun-filled game of seduction that will get you laughing (mostly at the protagonist instead of with her).