by Tuna

Romance tells the story of a young teacher, Caroline Ducey, who is living with a man she is deeply in love with, but who will not have sex with her. It is not that he is not capable; he simply isn't interested. She decides to get the sex she needs elsewhere, and also wanders into some bondage action as well. Eventually, her boyfriend sticks it in long enough to knock her up.

This film was created by the French "porno chic" director Catherine Breillat and its frank portrayals of sex generated much controversy at the time of release. It also managed to gain some positive critical reviews, and became something of a hit with the art house crowd.

Given the film's reputation, you must be thinking by now that there must be more there than what I described in the first paragraph. Nah. As Gertrude Stein once said "There's no 'there' there." If you can excuse the boredom of nearly constant nudity and simulated sex, there is still the burden of listening to endless French art-film dialogue, and a substantial amount of pompous narration. 

The film has exactly one positive: the dubbed English was done very well, nearly matching lip movement.

You may be thinking, "Why, then, does this director have such a good reputation?" I have seen several of her films, and am decidedly unimpressed, but the original buzz was that Breillat knew, and was revealing, some hidden truths about women. In this case, as was the case in Anatomie de l'enfer, Breillat was kind enough to give the meaning of the film directly in dialogue. As you might recall, the meaning of Anatomie de l'enfer was that all men hate all women, mostly because they have periods. The theme of Romance is that men can't use rubbers because they can't stay hard enough, and that is because they don't really want to have sex with women.

Thank God for these insights. I have now learned all I need to know about women. It makes all the years of film-watching worthwhile.


* Euro-widescreen (1.66)

* no features







3 James Berardinelli (of 5 stars)
3 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
37 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
49 (of 100)


5.2 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. The controversy surrounding the film did earn it a North American release in 74 arthouses. It grossed $1.3 million.



  • Caroline Ducey shows everything, and fingers an erect penis.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Curiosity value only.