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Memoir Of War Movie Review

An Unmemorable Memoir

It's April,1945, in Paris, and Marguerite Duras (Mélanie Thierry), a writer of some fame, is frantically trying to find out if her husband Robert is among the men returning from war. Robert had previously been arrested by the Germans for being active in the French Resistance.
Flashback to June, 1944. Marguerite, in her search for her beloved Robert, befriends Rabier (Benoît Magimel), a Frenchman who is working with Nazi government officials. She is using him to help Robert. He is using her to unmask more in the Resistance, and because he is an aspiring writer who is attracted to the perpetually sullen but alluring Marguerite.

At the local Resistance meeting, the relationship between Marguerite and Rabier is a subject of mass importance. Most see it as a threat to themselves and view it as something that could lead to all of them being ferreted away like Robert. Others counter that it may turn out to be beneficial for the group.

Among the latter group is Dionys (Benjamin Biolay), who although a friend of Robert, is having a sexual relationship with Marguerite. Even though you would think the relationship between them would be a point of inner conflict for both of them, it is completely glossed over. If this were an American film instead of being French, it would be of far greater import.

The group decides that Marguerite should continue with Rabier, and most of the rest of "Memoir of War" is a game to see if Marguerite or Rabier will get what they want from the relationship. As the war begins to lean towards the Germans being defeated, Marguerite's hand becomes stronger than Rabier's. 

When Paris is liberated, Rabier vanishes, and Marguerite sees the French men returning from the war. She questions everyone for potential information on her Robert. Has he been killed? Will he return? All Marguerite can do is wait.

For as painful as the story should be, it's relatively cold and unfeeling. It made me fidget more than it made me feel the desperation and horror of the subject matter. It never picks up any momentum and left me not caring at all how it would turn out for Marguerite and Robert. Toss in a bizarre, relatively unexplained ending and you end up with a very unmemorable memoir.



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