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My Golden Days

French dramedy in which a man recalls his tumultuous adolescent love affair

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MY GOLDEN DAYS. If you haven’t had your fill of films about middle-aged intellectual Frenchmen mooning over lost teen-age loves they treated rather badly, there is Arnaud Desplechin’s new dramedy. It uses a clumsy flashback device during a passport inspection to show three passages from Paul’s 1980s youth: a tumultuous family life in which he relocates himself to an aunt’s house (poorly explained); a trip to the Soviet Union to help refuseniks (kicky, but otherwise disconnected from the rest of the story); and a long sequence in which teenage Paul (Quentin Dolmaire) loves the beautiful but frustrating teenage Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet). Esther is the focus of Paul (and his male friends), but not of this film: She gets very little development or agency, though she frequently gets undressed. The flailings and failings of adolescent romance might generate some nostalgia, but any impact this story has is hampered by the awkward framing devices.


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