The lure of the VO film

Film, Life in France, Pop Culture

I do miss a movie in English on the big screen when living in France. Call me old fashioned but there’s something about watching a movie in a constrained environment with strangers that I quite like along with the ritual of buying some unhealthy snacks at the counter. Of course there’s enjoyment to be had watching movies at home from the comfort of the TV or the laptop and occasionally I dare say it on my phone, but you know going to the cinema just feels like more of an event or a planned outing to look forward to. I did have a phase where I downloaded TV series to get my English fix and join in the Game Of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards and Girls madness.  However that came to a bit of a sorry end when I received a letter from the French authorities to cease and desist.  I did find this a bit odd as I was hardly a mega downloader but it did promptly curtail my activities in that area.

The Sainte Maxime cinema is one of the more modern buildings in the town and houses a library, café, theatre and cinema.  All bar one movie I’ve seen here have been kid flicks in French – The Smurfs 2, Toy Story 3, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Rio 2, The Lego Movie plus there’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this weekend …. anyway you get the picture.   Occasionally it decides to offer up the Version Originale (VO) of an English speaking movie with French subtitles.  This is quite a rare offer in our neck of the woods. There are actually a high proportion of English / American movies on show, but they are dubbed in French. They like to inflict this pain on the television also and I’m sorry, but watching The Godfather without Al Pacino’s voice is just not the same proposition.  Apparently French actors are known as the voice of a particular actor and each film that is screened with that English / American actor has the same French voice behind it.  Points for consistency I suppose.


There was more than a little excitement this week as I found out that there would be three movies in VO! Not one but three. I’m hoping this is a sign of more VO’s in the future.  So what’s on offer?  There’s Gone Girl and I’ve read the book so I know the plot for this one. I did like the book in the opening stages but found that it became increasingly annoying as it went on. However with David Fincher in charge and the gorgeous Rosamund Pike with boy made good Ben Affleck, I’m genuinely interested to see what they make of this. There’s also Interstellar from Christopher Nolan – another favourite director, starring the suddenly in demand (after taking his top of too many times and caning it playing the bongos) Matthew McConaughey.  I don’t know too much about this film but it is set in space and there’s nothing that I like more than a bit of intergalactic action.  The third – yes I can’t believe it, the third option is Magic in the Moonlight from Woody Allen. And I know everyone says he’s had his heyday with Manhattan, Annie Hall etc but I did enjoy his more recent Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine and Vicky Christina Barcelona. However I am slightly conflicted on my views regarding him being a great artist vs having creepy personal issues. It stars Emma Stone who I love and see as some sort of throwback 30’s grande dame for some unknown reason and Colin Firth who my Mum loves.  Can I just say that she has watched him emerge from the pond / lake in his wet white shirt in the now classic Pride and Prejudice TV series far too many times.

So which film to see?  Or see first?

Not so great photo I took in the movie

Not so great photo I took in the movie

Well for scheduling reasons alone it was Magic in the Moonlight. It was OK, definitely not Woody Allen’s best moment but it was set in Provence in the 1920’s (bonus points for the historical setting) and it did have great costumes and gorgeously grand old villas and scenery. Definitely one of his lighter movies, a bit whimsical but still fun and not too demanding if you like that kind of thing.

Hopefully I can see the other two next week.

Are there any movies that you’re anticipating? Let me know in the Leave a Reply …. go on.



6 thoughts on “The lure of the VO film”

    • Hello cathinhuia – my first commenter – thanks! I’ve just IMDB’d Deadlands and that looks pretty good. Chances are pretty low that will be screened here though. Boo. Is Mockingjay for you or the girls or both? I’ve read the books but haven’t seen any of the flicks yet.


  1. I agree that the experience of watching a film is best done in ‘native tongue’. Voices are so singular – you’re right – there’s only one Al. Interesting that in France there are specialist voice actors! Like that idea. I’ve heard that Gone Girl the movie is even more irritating than the book! Have you seen it yet? I intend to see Interstellar too. The isolation and the unknown combined can create great drama ( 2001 set that particular bar). And yes – mea culpa. Colin Firth or rather Mr Darcy certainly had my attention for longer than was necessary Megs but I also loved him in A Single Man and I don’t recall a wet shirt shot in that! Looking forward to your next post.

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    • Hi there. Yes you should definitely go and see Interstellar, it’s great. And not sure that I’ll get to see Gone Girl in VO at the movies now, it will probably be later in English when it’s downloadable. That’s a shame you’ve heard that it’s not that good though. Let me know how you found Interstellar when you’ve seen it.


  2. Hi, I’m in Le Rouret. Apparently a cinema in Roquefort les Pins is doing VO now. Gone Girl was yesterday and I missed it, but I hope (fingers crossed) that Interstellar comes through the wormhole movie void for English speakers here and I will definitely go see.


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