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The Essentials: Betty Blue (1986)

A lackadaisical handyman and aspiring novelist tries to support his younger girlfriend as she slowly succumbs to madness. Director's cut
(NR, 185 min.)

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

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Monday, February 14, 2022

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When the easygoing would-be novelist Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) meets the tempestuous Betty (Béatrice Dalle, in a magnetic breakout performance) in a sunbaked French beach town, it’s the beginning of a whirlwind love affair that sees the pair turn their backs on conventional society in favor of the hedonistic pursuit of freedom, adventure, and carnal pleasure. But as the increasingly erratic Betty’s grip on reality begins to falter, Zorg finds himself willing to do things he never expected to protect both her fragile sanity and their tenuous existence together. Adapted from the hit novel 37°2 le matin by Philippe Djian, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s art-house smash—presented here in its extended director’s cut—is a sexy, crazy, careening joyride of a romance that burns with the passion and beyond-reason fervor of all-consuming love. [Criterion]

Starring: Béatrice Dalle, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Gérard Darmon
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Language: French
Genre(s): Drama, Romance

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"If Betty Blue feasts on the bodies of its leads, it's this director's cut that fully establishes the movie's artistic bona fides."

— Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

"If Dalle never made anything of note again then this alone would be enough to stake her claim as an icon of late 20th century cinema."

— Empire Magazine

"Beineix is still the sumptuous stylist; it's as much a part of him as his skin and the film has its share of gorgeous dawns, haunting sunsets, rollicking pink-and blue-painted beach houses. But he is also a great storyteller, and the whole middle section of Betty Blue is an irresistible tale of crazy love on one hand and crazy friendship on the other. [07 Nov 1986, p.1]"

— Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times