Perth Festival Reviews – Goodbye First Love

Perth Festival Reviews – Goodbye First Love

GOODBYE FIRST LOVE chronicles the romance between Camille and Sullivan, which begins during their adolescence. 

Perthians, if you’re looking for something a little more thoughtful than your standard popcorn flick, tonight, then perhaps GOODBYE, FIRST LOVE (Un Amour De Jeunesse) will be your cup of chai. This is the final evening of its Somerville run (8:00PM, Sunday Feb 8).

This Franco-German co-production is the fourth feature directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. The story covers almost a decade in Camille and Sullivan’s relationship. Camille’s journey is at the centre of this story, we watch her mature and begin to discover her place in the world. This is done with a light directorial touch; the incremental shifts between one’s teens and twenties are well-captured by this subtle film. 

The drama is entirely personal; what happens between Camille and Sullivan are everyday events of the heart. Hansen-Løve has pulled off the difficult feat of making the ordinary feel engaging. Sebastian Urzendowsky is very good as the self-involved, yet aimless Sullivan. Lola Créton is excellent as the self-possessed and serious Camille. You come to understand who these two are even as they are figuring this out for themselves.

Urzendowsky and Créton’s performances are wonderfully natural. Your understanding of this pair is created through a myriad of short scenes and small interactions that produces a “collage” of their relationship. Hansen-Løve has skillfully avoided the episodic feel this kind of story can have. The film also looks beautiful.

GOODBYE FIRST LOVE is a well-told tale of young people learning who they are and what it means to love someone else. Technically it’s a coming of age story, but that slightly hackneyed phrase doesn’t do this film justice. If you like quiet character studies composed of excellent observations and strong performances, then this film has these qualities in abundance.

The film is in French with English subtitles. It runs for 110 minutes. I rated it 4/5.