Quick recap: Jules and Jim are best friends living in France and they love to share everything: clothes, experiences and a woman named Catherine.
Fun (?) fact: Jeanne Moreau, who played Catherine, went over and above when it came to helping the film succeed. Because of the tiny budget, she used her own car to carry props around and also helped cater some scenes. When her stunt double showed up drunk, she jumped into the river on her own and when money ran out, she financed the rest.
My thoughts: Oh my god, what a whirlwind of a movie. Reading the synopsis on the dvd cover, I expected some sort of buddy romance comedy, like There’s Something About Mary. But a little more high class, because it’s French, you know. What I got instead was the craziest love triangle I can recall seeing and an ending that made me gasp out loud several times. Which I haven’t done since watching The Post (but only because Iforgot it was around the time of the Watergate Scandal).
Acting was great, scenery top notch, and music was adequate. Now let’s get to the meat of the this movie: The crazy sex triangle. I’ll try to break it down here as simply as I can but really, you need to see this for itself to really understand how absurd it all is.
- Jules and Catherine hang out and and eventually become a couple. Jim hangs around and the three do silly things like run around a lot and ride bikes. Jim is nonchalant about Catherine.
- Catherine falls into the river because she’s pissed off at Jules (as I have considered many times when being mansplained to). Jim rescues her and falls in love.
- World War I begins and the two fight against each other since Jim is a French citizen and Jules is German. Catherine is pregnant with Jules’ baby and they are married.
- After the war, Jim visits Jules and finds a sweet family. But Catherine is actually miserable, according to Jules, and she acts out by sleeping with literally everyone. She is currently seeing Albert, who wants to marry her and raise the kid as his own.
- Jim’s solution is to throw his hat in the ring and announce his love. Jules is cool with this and will gladly divorce Catherine in order to let her marry Jim. The three live in a weird poly commune and honestly, I’m here for it at this point. Everyone seems happy and I’m surprised something so progressive was shown back in the 60s.
- Catherine wants a baby from Jim but no dice. She decides she’s not actually in love with him and the two separate. Jules just exists in a weird cuckhold relationship.
- Catherine is pregnant!
- Nope. Lost the baby. Jim is over this. Jules enjoys being tortured by Catherine as she continues to sleep with everyone but him.
- Catherine keeps getting Jim to try and talk to her but he is so over this. She threatens to shoot him but he grabs the gun and walks away.
- Catherine finally gets him to herself. They get in the car to talk and she drives both of them into a river, where they die. I KNOW
So yeah, what an ending. And so much drama I was NOT expecting. Part of me is really pissed off at the treatment of Catherine because she was never asked what she wanted but she was also nuts so maybe this is exactly the way it should’ve gone. Either way, I think Jules got the raw end of the deal because he stayed in love with Catherine throughout all of this. I’m not really sure how there could’ve been a good ending, except for everyone reading ‘The Ethical Slut’ and having a poly board game night. Maybe that would’ve rightfully smoothed things over.
Final review: 4/5
Up next: Heat