Both punk and pouty, "Bye Bye Blondie" casts luscious-lipped Gallic sexpots Beatrice Dalle and Emmanuelle Beart as middle-aged lovers who can't seem to live with or without each other. French novelist and director Virginie Despentes ("Baise-moi") loosely adapts her own book, which featured a heterosexual couple.
Both punk and pouty, “Bye Bye Blondie” casts luscious-lipped Gallic sexpots Beatrice Dalle and Emmanuelle Beart as middle-aged lovers who can’t seem to live with or without each other. French novelist and director Virginie Despentes (“Baise-moi”) loosely adapts her own book, which featured a heterosexual couple. But despite these literary origins, the screenplay feels as if it’s held together by safety pins; narrative momentum is minimal, and flashbacks to the punkettes’ youth are essentially filler. Queer and French events will say hello before it’s off to the discount bins.
Despentes’ biggest coup is casting 1980s icons Dalle (“Betty Blue”) and Beart (“Manon of the Spring”), and they easily sell the romance of these reconnected lovers, even without sweaty sex scenes (“Baise-moi” this is not). But the sequences featuring their younger selves as ’80s teen lovebirds (mono-monikered Soko and Beart dead ringer Clara Ponsot, respectively) are inessential and initially disorientating, since production design and editing do so little to distinguish between periods. Coming-out theme, also touched upon but never developed in a storyline involving the Beart character’s marriage-of-convenience with a gay writer (Pascal Greggory), goes nowhere. Music choices are appropriately grungy.