The Green Ray (1986)

The Green Ray (1986)

This largely improvised French film is a cathartic watch for anyone who’s ever felt like they’re drifting

The Very Best

8.9

Movie

France
English, French, German
Drama, Romance
1986
ÉRIC ROHMER
Béatrice Romand, María Luisa García, Marie Rivière
98 min

What it's about

A lonely Parisian woman comes to terms with her isolation and anxieties during a long summer vacation.

The take

Éric Rohmer’s The Green Ray is the kind of film that you come away from being more honest with yourself. That effect is thanks to the contagious directness of its protagonist: Delphine (Marie Rivière), a newly single young French woman whose summer vacation plans have just been unceremoniously upturned after the friend she was going away with takes off with a man instead. Now at a loose end, the indecisive Delphine meanders between her home in Paris and several gorgeous holiday spots, but that old saying — “wherever you go, there you are” — proves true. Neither the beaches of Cherbourg and Biarritz nor the lofty beauty of an Alps resort can soothe her restlessness or give her what she’s looking for, probably because she doesn’t quite know what that is herself.

Delphine’s is an achingly familiar search for anyone who’s ever felt like they’ve drifted off of life’s path, but blessedly, the conversation-driven Green Ray doesn’t leave us wallowing in that despair. That’s partly thanks to its final moments — which rank among cinema’s most stunning — but mostly because Rivière, who improvised much of her incisive dialogue, puts into words things that so many have felt but few would admit. In that sense, The Green Ray feels as much like a miracle as its last shot does.

Comments

Add a comment

What did you think? Who should watch it?

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.

9.0

System Crasher (2019)

A tale of trauma and one of the most talked about movies on Netflix in 2020.

9.0

Forgotten Love (2023)

The stunning third take of the classic Polish pre-war melodrama

7.7

Do Not Disturb (2023)

A confusing Turkish Netflix comedy-drama with less comedy than hoped for

5.3

The Black Book (2023)

A Nigerian revenge thriller seeking justice against corrupt institutions

7.0

Overhaul (2023)

A generic racing-action movie with a more distinct personality from its obvious inspirations

5.1

Reptile (2023)

It’s not as taut as it could be, but this slow-burn thriller has a captivating lead in Benicio del Toro

7.0

Nowhere (2023)

A riveting Spanish Netflix survival thriller brought to life in Anna Castillo’s performance

7.8

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

A star-studded and riveting legal drama with a blockbuster feel.

9.1

Flora and Son (2023)

An Irish musical drama that works best when it embraces its feel-good roots

6.8

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2023 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.