We first see Suzanne (Sandrine Bonnaire, in her first starring role) rehearsing the main part in a summer camp play. Though the screenplay doesn’t belabor the point, the play is the story of a young woman who, taught by her embittered elders to mistrust love, abandons her soulmate to live unhappily ever after. That, in a nutshell, is Suzanne’s story and the narrative arc of A Nos Amours, a brilliant work of fatalistic realism that views even its youthful love scenes through a scrim of melancholy. Bonaire is mesmerizing as a strong willed young woman whose instincts are continually undermined by her borderline incestuous father and brother and her neurotically resentful mother.
Suzanne seeks refuge from her volatile home life mainly through sex, which serves both as a diversion from and a cause of pain, alternating between self-discovery, self-gratification, and self-sabotage. Meanwhile, she struggles with the conundrum faced by so many beautiful young women: She is ogled by all and truly seen by almost no one. The myriad traits, many of them harsh, assigned to her by her self-interested observers make it all the more difficult for her to do the hard work of adolescence: figuring out who she is and what she wants from life. Written for Brooklyn Magazine