Review: Mood Indigo
Mood Indigo is the latest film from director Michel Gondry, who is probably best known for this other visually bizarre but touching romantic films Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep. The film stars Romain Duris (The Heartbreaker) and Audrey Tautou (Amelie) along with Gad Elmaleh (Priceless) and Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past).
The plot centres on Colin (Duris), a wealthy and slightly eccentric man, who falls in love with and marries Chloe (Tautou). However, when she becomes sick to a lily on her lung, the only cure is to scare it off with other fresh flowers – and as the illness and financial pressure begins to take its toll, the couple’s love story slowly starts to stumble towards tragedy.
A pretty simple love story, this film’s two main attractions are the wonderful and whimsical visuals and the charming characters of Colin, Chloe and their friends.
The film’s visuals start off bright and colourful, with Colin living in a home of strange contraptions, where his pet mouse is a man in a mouse-suit, and the food and the doorbell are stop animated creatures that seem to be alive – the doorbell looking a beetle with a bell on it, that needs to be stomped on to turn it off. This bizarreness is not restricted to within Colin’s home either, when the friends go out to the ice rink a person with a bird head works the sound system, and on their first date Chloe and Colin find a cloud ride allows to take them up in the sky and to places in the city.
There are surreal but stunning sequences throughout the film, but two of the best I think, are – Chloe and Colin’s walk from the church after getting married, where they suddenly seem to be underwater, as if to demonstrate a bubble of pure happiness; and a roadside picnic on their honeymoon, where they literally manage to cut the scene with a saw so Colin’s half of the table is under stormy weather and Chloe’s is in glorious sunshine.
The relationships between the characters are charming and compelling too. Colin’s lawyer and live-in-cook friend Nicolas (Sy) is the sort of best friend anyone would love to have, helpful, friendly and dedicated not only to Colin but Chloe too. Whilst his other friend Chick (Elmaleh) who is obsessed with a philosopher and with his girlfriend has a darker subplot of his own.
The film however, does take a gloomier turn once Chloe ends up ill, which despite easing the audience into it – with the house starting to slowly collapse and decay – I personally found a little disappointing and sad after the previous light and cheerful tone feel of previous scenes. On the other hand you can’t maintain a film purely on happiness, conflict has to come into it, and so it does here.
Mood Indigo is a marvellous quirky film, with a stellar cast playing lovely characters in a odd but ultimately charming world. The film does take a darker tone somewhere midway through, and ends on a depressing note, that after so much whimsy I personally found a shame. Nonetheless still a well recommended watch.
Mood Indigo is out on DVD now.