Quick recap: Cleo, a French singer, must wait on the results of a biopsy. She is supposed to call the hospital in the evening so the entire film happens from 5 pm to 7 pm, as she ponders life and her fate.
Fun (?) fact: There isn’t much fact-wise about this film, probably because not much happens. The only mildly interesting thing I could find is that ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ is considered a French Wave film, which I can pretend to have an opinion about now.
My thoughts: I realize I don’t have much to go on, seeing as how I have only seen 3 French films, but the ones I have seen are….different. I am well aware that ‘French’ isn’t a genre, but from Amélie to Murmur of the Heart to this movie, there is a connecting thread of Frenchness. That’s not a bad thing, because I find it amusing to finally understand what pop culture has been alluding to this whole time.
The concept of filming in ‘real time’, as Cleo waits for the results of her test is interesting, but also kind of boring because nothing happens. Most of the movie is just watching her be sad with her friend, sad at her house, sad with her managers, sad at a café and even sad at the park. I get the point, that this is an existential movie where nothing is supposed to happen, but that doesn’t make it any less boring. Once in awhile, when Cleo was gazing sadly at nothing in particular, she would do a voice over and say something profound. But for the most part, there was just a lot of looking sad. My favorite was in the café when she put her own song to play on the jukebox and then watched sadly as no one paid attention to it.
It would be unfair of me to pretend that I despised this movie because really, there were some enjoyable parts. I most identified with Cleo’s transformation from ‘baby doll’ to actual woman by the end of the film. Once she took off that ridiculous wig and donned her black dress, she become 50% less insufferable. Her conversation with the soldier was also really nice. I daresay he was my favorite part of the film because he was just so likeable and was able to draw a real discussion out of Cleo. Although there wasn’t much of a plot, I felt the ending when the diagnosis was confirmed was the best way to go. She takes the news stoically and then confides to the soldier that now she is happy. Considering the soldier was shipping off to war that night, the fact that both of them had uncertain futures was especially poignant.
Final review: 3/5. I didn’t hate it. I was amused by the silent film that played in the middle of this movie. It was funny and also very French, as it should be.
Up next: Kramer vs. Kramer