Boudu Saved From Drowning (Renoir, 1932)
This review contains spoilers (2nd paragraph).
This film was somewhat of a see-saw experience for me. I went from liking it to not liking it, back to liking it, and so on. When it was all finished, I liked it more than I didn’t. While it’s definitely flawed, it’s also fantastic. First, let me say that there are instances where the cinematography is the best I’ve seen from the decade. Several long takes pan from a starting point to an end, at times beautifully blurred, but always over beautiful sets and landscapes. The film also features a couple great character montage sequences that I’m a sucker for.
Michel Simon as the lead role is also great, though his character is sometimes a bit cartoonish. In fact, Renoir makes him so cartoonish that when he somehow seduces the wife of the man he is staying with, it comes off as very unbelievable. Though this flaw pales in comparison to the fact that he wins the lottery. This was a completely unneeded plot move. There were many other ways to get to the film’s conclusion (which was very solid) without adding that bit. It’s an up and down film, but there’s too much good to ignore. 8/10