The Young Girls of Rochefort-1967
Starring-Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris
Scott’s Review #252
Reviewed June 30, 2015
The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) is a musical fantasy set in a small French town outside of Paris. The story focuses on a set of gorgeous twin sisters, Delphine and Solange, played by real life sisters Catherine Denueve and Francoise Dorleac, who yearn to escape their small town for the bright lights of Paris and hopes for romance in their lives. The twins can have any man they want, but enjoy the thrill and excitement of conquests and being chased and sought after by seemingly all available French men. They spend their spare time discussing and fretting over various loves.
The film is so French and pure musical fantasy and logic is really not the main focus. Much of it does not make much sense in fact, nor does it need to. It is pure fantasy. The film excels by being dreamlike, bright, and sunny. The vivid, bursting colors and lovely sets enhance the look of the film. In particular the coffee shop set is a dream. All of the central characters gravitate to the café for drinks, gossip, and song and dance. A great deal of the action takes place here, which is a major plus to the film. The Young Girls of Rochefort, which is made in 1967, is very state of the art in terms of art direction and colors.
The loose plot, which is not at all the reason to watch this film, is silly. The twins, longing for love, meet several men, all possible suitors, but at their true motivation is to get out of Rochefort and find real excitement in the big city of Paris. One cannot help but realize that the men are a means to an end for the girls. The heartfelt part of the story belongs to that of the twin’s mother, Yvonne, who also longs for love. Yvonne runs the café and still pines for a long lost love who she jilted because of a funny last name. She now regrets her decision and the audience roots for her to find happiness. She is a wholesome character whereas Delphine and Solange are selfish and are attempting to further their careers as musical artists.
My main criticism of the film is the casting of Gene Kelly as one of the love interests for the sisters. Far too old and well past his prime at this point, the casting just doesn’t work for me. Yes, he is an amazing dancer, but the age is too great to be believable.
In the end, the main reason to watch The Young Girls of Rochefort is to escape, let loose, and enjoy a bright, cheery, fantasy film. Certainly not to be analyzed, the film succeeds in providing good escapist cultured, French fare.
Oscar Nominations: Best Score of a Musical Picture- Original or Adaptation