Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo Review
As I said, Fantastic Fest 2013 was pretty much one of the best events I’ve been to. It wasn’t swank, it wasn’t “exclusive,” and best of all, it catered to film lovers on every level. Held at the infinitely awesome Alamo Drafthouse, it served as a mecca for cult lovers and film buffs alike. There were celebrities there mingling with the crowd like it was no big – and it was awesome.
Among the many world and first premieres was Michel Gondry’s latest opus, Mood Indigo. Hopelessly quirky, fun, colorful, upbeat, and even silly, the film starts off almost as an assault of cuteness. It is an adaptation of Boris Vian‘s 1947 novel Froth on the Daydream and its American edition Foam of the Daze, and perhaps the book is just as over the top. Nonetheless, it took me a moment to acclimate.
The story is about Colin, an independently wealthy man with little cares and good taste in everything, including women. He lives a sweet life filled with the things he loves. There’s his pet man-mouse who likes to help around the house, the pesky door buzzer creature, the clever lawyer/chef and his live-in TV chef guide (he actually lives in the TV), his invention, the pianocktail, his obsessive best friend, and the peppy house itself.
When Colin meets the love of his life, the charming Chloe (played by the endlessly adorable Audrey Tautou), things begin to change. At first the changes are joyous and wonderful. But some bad news creates a chain reaction throughout the group that could end their charmed way of life.
Though the style was jarring at first, and even somewhat tiresome, I quickly settled into it and found myself taken away by its sweet charm. The cutesy stuff really does make the film front-heavy, because as it relaxes into itself as it progresses, all of that is forgiven as the story really begins to shine through. What is carved out is a wonderful tale about love and loss, and the crazy things dedication can do to a person.
French actor Romain Duris plays Colin, and does a great job of keeping the whimsy of the film grounded. His puppy dog face also lends itself to the great sadness he must later endure.
Director Gondry is at his best here. Even with the missteps in the beginning, he soon lets most of it go when the film takes a tonal turn. He keeps its whimsical nature intact, but doesn’t abuse it as much. By the end, it all leaves you somewhat haunted in an unexpected way.
I give it Four Devil Head’s.