Romance tells the story of a young teacher, Caroline Ducey, who is living
with a man she is deeply in love with, but who will not have sex with her. It is
not that he is not capable; he simply isn't interested. She decides to get the
sex she needs elsewhere, and also wanders into some bondage action as well.
Eventually, her boyfriend sticks it in long enough to knock her up.
This film was created by the French "porno chic" director Catherine Breillat and
its frank portrayals of sex generated much controversy at the time of release.
It also managed to gain some positive critical reviews, and became something of
a hit with the art house crowd.
Given the film's reputation, you must be thinking by now that there must be
more there than what I described in the first paragraph. Nah. As Gertrude Stein
once said "There's no 'there' there." If you can excuse the boredom of nearly
constant nudity and simulated sex, there is still the burden of listening to
endless French art-film dialogue, and a substantial amount of pompous narration.
The film has exactly one positive: the dubbed English was done very well,
nearly matching lip movement.
You may be thinking, "Why, then, does this director have such a good
reputation?" I have seen several of her films, and am decidedly unimpressed, but
the original buzz was that Breillat knew, and was revealing, some hidden truths
about women. In this case, as was the case in Anatomie de l'enfer, Breillat was
kind enough to give the meaning of the film directly in dialogue. As you might
recall, the meaning of Anatomie de l'enfer was that all men hate all women,
mostly because they have periods. The theme of Romance is that men can't use
rubbers because they can't stay hard enough, and that is because they don't
really want to have sex with women.
Thank God for these insights. I have now learned all I need to know about
women. It makes all the years of film-watching worthwhile.