3 Hearts Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Benoit Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • Director: Benoit Jacquot
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: July 28, 2015
  • Run Time: 108 minutes

  •          3 Hearts is a tragic romance that is approached stylistically as more of a thriller by filmmaker Benoit Jacquot (Farewell My Queen), with highly charged performances and an ominous score by Bruno Coulais. There is no real danger to the health or safety of these characters, yet we feel that their very lives are at stake with the gravity of their romantic passions looming over each decision. Melodrama takes the main stage for much of this narrative, though it is a film which ultimately depends upon the moments of romance as the glue that holds together the series of unlikely coincidences that follow.


            After finishing a business trip to provincial France one evening, Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde) misses his train back to Paris and finds himself wandering the lonely streets when he runs into Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Drawn to each other immediately as kindred spirits, Marc and Sylvie walk the streets getting to know each other like a heavy-handed tribute to Before Sunrise. Their romantic relationship doesn’t develop, as Sylvie is still struggling to end an unsatisfying relationship, but the pair plan on meeting again in Paris the next day. Having never exchanged names or numbers, their future together is dependent upon this meeting, which is predictably thwarted due to a minor medical issue. Despite the deep connection each feels for each other, they are forced to move on with their lives.


            Sylvie patches things up with her boyfriend, moving with him to the United States and leaving her sister, Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni), to run the family antique business that was left to them by their mother (Catherine Deneuve). When this business runs into a series of tax problems, Marc steps in to help and begins a romantic relationship with Sophie, unaware of who her sister is. Eventually this relationship leads to marriage, at which point Sylvie returns home to meet her new brother-in-law. Rather than admit their previous connection, the two remain silent about knowing each other, until they are drawn back to each other in secret.


            Jacquot gets so much right in 3 Hearts, it is that much more devastating when the film begins to fall apart. Although the passionate draw of love is perfectly captured by Gainsbourg and Poelvoorde while the other relationship in the triangle is safer and more logical, some of the character choices seem thinly developed. Though Sylvie restrained from even kissing Marc while still in a poor relationship with her boyfriend, she doesn’t hesitate to stab her own sister in the back years later. Meanwhile Marc’s emotional dilemma is primarily showcased through his inexplicable medical issues, which mostly seem to resemble panic attacks, but he becomes less sympathetic when he discovers who Sophie is and decides to marry her anyway. Even more devastating is the sense that the narrative backs itself into a corner, with nowhere but an ambiguous ending to leave the audience with. I did not mind the ambiguity of the ending, but a few odd sequences with a sudden narrator appearing momentarily show the real weakness within the script. What began as a strong, albeit improbable premise, suddenly feels uncertain and incomplete by the third act of the film.


            The Blu-ray release includes an interview with the director as well as a theatrical trailer. Nothing in this film truly needs a high definition presentation, though the somewhat overdone soundtrack is certainly enhanced by the DTS-HD Master Audio.


    Entertainment Value: 6/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance:  4/10

    Special Features: 3.5/10

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