I have to confess up front that I had no idea this movie starred Édith Piaf until part way into the film. I still no nothing about her except that a movie was made about her a few years ago and she was a singer. The quickest plot summary of the film is that it is Singin’ In The Rain (1952) until they kill off the blonde with no voice and let the film slip into French tragedy. Édith Piaf plays the girl who is brought to the big city as the singing voice of film star Stella Dora. She does Stella’s voice for one movie, after which, Stella meets an untimely demise. Things spin downward for Édith Piaf after that and she never recovers.

It’s the definition of ‘approach with caution’. It is not a very good movie, but there are moments with Piaf that transcend the rest of the film. One such moment is when she first hears her voice played back to her. Stella and her manager meet Édith Piaf in a hotel where she sings while she works. When they first record her voice, we see her in the studio and can hear her faintly, but otherwise the sequence is silent. Later she stands in front of a gramophone as her voice plays back to her. An expression comes across her face as if this is the first time she has heard her own voice. She has a realization of what she has and how it can be separated from her. It’s scenes like this where Édith Piaf becomes pain in a woman’s skin. These moments stay with you long after the ‘Fin’.

As long as you are going into this movie for Édith Piaf, I believe you will take away something special. That’s why I say to approach this film with caution.

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