My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
Directed by
Eric Rohmer (France 102 minutes)
Released
26 August 1987
Writing credits
Eric Rohmer
Cast
Emmanuelle Chaulet .... Blanche
Sophie Renoir .... Lea
Anne-Laure Meury .... Adrienne
Eric Viellard .... Fabien
François-Eric Gendron .... Alexandre
Produced by
Margaret Ménégoz .... producer
Original Music by
Jean-Louis Valéro Cinematography by
Bernard Lutic Film Editing by
María Luisa García Production Design by
Sophie Mantigneux Sound Department
Georges Prat .... sound Other crew
Sabine Lancelin .... camera operator

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (1987)

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (L'ami de Mon Amie), is the sixth film and the culmination of Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series. It illustrates the saying "my friend's friends are my friends". The movie is set in the utopian Cergy-Pontoise a post-modern new town on the outskirts of Paris. Here it is close enough to see the Eiffel Tower in the distance, but far enough away that it could be another planet. It is a clean, well-lit environment, a model middle-class community where nothing of consequence could ever happen. It is something of a contrast to the cold functional suburbs that we see in Full Moon In Paris.

It is interesting how little we see of motor vehicles in this place and indeed, how little they are used by the cast. There are cars and vans in the distance and the characters mention their own cars, but Rohmer seems to be avoiding street scenes and in so doing he creates a fairy-tale atmosphere. In Hollywood movies heaven often resembles some kind of shopping mall or airport. The action in My Girlfriend's Boyfriend seems to take place in a similar kind of 'shopping mall heaven'.

The small cast are all twenty-somethings and either bureaucrats or students. Director François Truffaut, in an interview, once said that he worried about what jobs to give his characters. Rohmer just gives these the sort of jobs that most of his viewers have. It is another summer film, covering the pre-holiday season, which brings to mind the opening of The Green Ray. However the story, this time, concludes before the holidays.

Blanche (Emmanuelle Chaulet), a civil servant, has a mundane and uncomplicated lifestyle. Despite being attractive, she has not had a serious relationship for two years. Blanche doesn't seem to have any friends until she meets college student Lea (Sophie Renoir) over lunch. Lea is more confident and outgoing than Blanche and has a steady relationship with Fabien (Eric Viellard). Fabien and Lea are not that compatible as can be seen in most of the scenes where they are together. Blanche falls for Fabien's friend Alexandre (François-Eric Gendron) who fails to pay her any attention; seeming more interested in Lea. During Lea's absence Fabien and Blanche enjoy each other's company. The film follows the shifting sands of these relationships.

This was Emmanuelle Chaulet's film debut and her portrayal of Blanche is excellent. In the mistaken identity conversation near the end she is superb. The rest of the cast are as good, with Renoir and Meury having worked with Rohmer before. None of the cast are that well known, but they deliver their many lines effortlessly and in a natural manner.

Rohmer here has admirably captured the feel of the 'me' generation; the yuppies of the nineteen-eighties. The characters are shallow and self-centred and while they can get upset and moody they rarely speak of anything more meaningful that their relationships. These relationships are based on outward appearances with lovers that they look good with. With little touches, Rohmer turns them into interesting individuals. Like the other Comedies and Proverbs movies, this film doesn't have a strong storyline, but we are captured by the intriguing intricacies of the main protagonists; what makes them tick is what is so fascinating. We can all relate to the trivial problems that fill their days, and while they don't change significantly during the film there is a change in their circumstances.

Something to consider when watching My Girlfriend's Boyfriend is whether Lea is interested in Alexandre from the start and if so, is she trying to offload Fabien on Blanche.

Trivia

• The film was known as Boyfriends and Girlfriends when released in the USA.

• Anne-Laure Meury who plays Adrienne played Lucie, the girl "detective" in The Aviator's Wife.

• Sophie Renoir is the great-granddaughter of the famous impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Her grandfather Pierre was a character actor and her father Claude a cinematographer. Jean Renoir, best known for directing La Règle du Jeu is her great uncle.