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Beating Hearts (2024) — Movie Review

Gilles Lellouche presents his new film, "Beating Hearts" (L’Amour ouf), which seems like a bot-generated mishmash of several movies- Magnolia, Goodfellas, Boyz n the Hood, etc. The film teems with clichés and over-dramatized scenes, quite a step down from Lellouche’s previous success "Sink or Swim". Despite premiering in Cannes’ competition, it is one of the festival’s weakest entries in recent years.

"Sink or Swim" grossed about $40 million in France, giving Lellouche the freedom to take on any project he fancied. In "Beating Hearts", he takes on a crime story spanning a decade, featuring violent crime and obsessive love, yet these elements feel forced due to his overzealous direction.

Based on a novel by Neville Thompson, the plot centers on two teenagers who fall in love-hot-headed thug, Clotaire, and smart, rebellious Jacqueline. Although their bond is passionate, it is soon disrupted as Clotaire, in a whirlwind of bad decisions, joins a local crime gang resulting in a tragedy which he takes the blame for.

Beating Hearts (2024) — Movie Review

Lellouche is more interested in creating an intense, fiery mood rather than focusing on plausibility. This results in an exaggerated portrayal of characters and frequent climactic scenes that detract from the story. As the plot unfolds, the crime aspects of the film amplify absurdity rather than suspense.

The next chapter of the film, set a decade later, focuses on Jacqueline's struggles post-Clotaire, and her budding relationship with Jeffery, a caricature of the French upper-class. Clotaire, after his release from prison, plunges back into the world of crime and tries to win Jacqueline back, leading to high-voltage scenes and amplified drama.

Lellouche undoubtedly maintains a high-octane energy throughout the film, with the camera capturing stunning visuals. However, the film has been criticised for its stereotypes, overblown scenes, and simplistic romantic premise that seems to gallantly disregard the need for good taste.