1581. A Woman Is A Woman (1961)

7.5 Bright and fun
  • Acting 7.5
  • Directing 7.5
  • Story 7.4
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Anna Karina, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean-Paul Belmondo

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Running Time: 85 mins

A Woman Is A Woman (Une femme est une femme) is a French film about a young woman who, wishing to have a baby, finds herself in an emotional dilemma when her partner resists and directs her to another man.

One of the lesser-known Godard films, A Woman Is A Woman is full of his classic weird and experimental techniques, but also features a pretty fluffy romantic comedy story on the top. Of course, that’s not the whole of it, and although this isn’t necessarily as impressive as some of Godard’s highest-acclaimed films, it’s still a good watch, thanks to its story, performances and gorgeous colours.

In fact, I want to start there, with the colours. 1960’s Breathless is the pure definition of cool and chic, but one year later, this film is an absolute feast for fans of pop art imagery. In truth, I could happily watch this entire film just to gaze at the colour palette, which features the wonderfully bright primary colours of pop art, which always seem to be putting on their own show away from the actual story. It’s a lovely sight to see, and really adds to the fun of watching the movie, a lot like Godard’s later film Pierrot Le Fou.

Of course, there is more to the film than just the beautiful colours. Looking towards Godard’s directing, this film is at times even more disorienting than the likes of Breathless. Due in part both to the use of kaleidoscopic colours in some of the more abstract sequences, as well as Godard simply playing around a lot more with his techniques, it makes for an interesting watch, albeit one that can really puzzle you.

Possibly the least left-field, and still impressive, element of the movie is the performances. Thrown around in Godard’s bizarre world, the actors do a great job at making the film accessible and engaging enough to enjoy all around. Above all, Anna Karina is great, and gives a likable portrayal of the woman at the centre of the story, all the while maintaining very entertaining chemistry with co-stars Jean-Claude Brialy and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The trio’s interplay makes for some great laughs throughout, and forms the core of the film’s fluffier, easier-going side that makes it a genuinely enjoyable watch. Following them as they get mixed up in a bizarre love triangle is full of weird moments, but the three all put in a good show to make this an entertaining romantic comedy.

Now, looking a little deeper, the film does also have an interesting take on the lead female character, played by Anna Karina. Again, whilst I’m still doubting Godard’s sincerity with the script, as the film often seems more like 85 minutes of him playing around with the camera, there is something there that’s actually quite interesting.

We’re introduced to the leading lady as a young and very free exotic dancer. The film builds her up as quite a strong and independent character, but then turns to show her huge desire to have a baby, all simply due to ‘maternal instincts’. The contrast between her sincerity over the baby issue, and the seeming apathy of the two men in her life, is interesting to see, and as the film goes on, it becomes more and more like a real-world look at the idea that, as the title suggest, a woman is a woman, and isn’t necessarily as free-thinking and different as she may look on the outside.

Overall, A Woman Is A Woman is a pretty entertaining film. It doesn’t have the extreme cool nature of Breathless, and maybe not the same depth as other Godard films, but its off-the-wall directing style, beautifully bright colour palette and entertaining romance story all make for a very enjoyable watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com