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Mood Indigo - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Mood Indigo
Directing: C
Acting: B+
Writing: C-
Cinematography: C+
Editing: C
Special Effects: B

It's tempting to say Michel Gondry should have stuck with music videos, except that he gave us the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well, maybe he should go back to music videos. Or at least go back to using Charlie Kaufman (who wrote Eternal Sunshine) to write his scripts. Gondry did write The Science of Sleep (2006), and it had its charms, I'll grant. But Mood Indigo is just an outright mess.

It's so stream-of-consciousness bonkers right out of the gate, I lost patience with this movie within about ten minutes. Is there some sense that can be made of this slapsticky chaos? The production design is excessively, one might even argue oppressively, detailed. The end result is strangely hollow, revealing a total lack of justification for such massive effort.

The story gets bogged down by the distractingly fanciful details. There's a mouse that's played by a miniaturized man in a mouse suit. There's a dance sequence at a party where everyone's legs stretch out like they're gumby. Every time anyone sits down to eat, the food is always stop-motion animated: vegetable platters moving in swirling patterns; sausages that seem to want to escape from their plates; an eel that is a main course is caught as it keeps peeing out through multiple kitchen faucets. Every meal ends with dishes getting swept off the table and onto the floor. Two different outings at an ice skating rink feature a DJ that is a humanoid with a giant blue bird head.

Bizarre details like this could be tolerated if they were somewhat fewer, and much more importantly, offered with some context. But these things just happen for no discernible reason, like we're hostages inside someone's vividly erratic dreams. The editing is insane, with far too many scenes sped up at cartoonish levels. Mood Indigo is very much like a live-action cartoon, just without comprehension or wit.

The actors are lovely, at least. You can't go wrong with Audrey Tautou, although I dare say she perhaps went wrong with accepting this role. Presumably she got paid, so I guess there's that incentive. The same goes for Romain Duris as Colin, the central character, who falls in love with Tautou's Chloé. Both of them are exceedingly pleasing to the eye, both easily tap into innocent charms, and they have good chemistry. These things are about all that Mood Indigo really has going for it, and it's not enough. Most of us want a movie that is comprehensible.

There is a basic story. Colin falls in love with Chloé; Chloé falls in love back; Chloé falls sick. Except here, "sick" means some kind of flower growing in and destroying her lung, which can only be combated by fresh flowers placed on the flesh of her belly and chest. What?

Apparently this is ultimately a sad love story. Chloé deteriorates, and Chick, Colin's lawyer/cook/best friend (it's difficult to follow), sees his friendship with Colin damaged in the process. This basic story is relatively simple, but it could have been affecting if Gondry could learn to be even the slightest bit straightforward in the telling. Instead, it feels like he's communicating in visual code but we don't have any translation tool. Are these visual metaphors? Fuck if I know. All I know is I was relieved when the movie was over, because I didn't particularly get anything out of it.

Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris are the only orderly elements in the mess that is MOOD INDIGO.

Overall: C+
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