This is the story of a mutual love that
is so strong that it destroys those it touches. As the film
begins we see images of the sea through a port-hole of a
cruise liner. We see the surface and perhaps we are invited
to ponder the hidden depths of the Mediterranean, Homer's
wine dark sea. Much lies hidden below the beautiful surface.
We are introduced to Fiona (Kristin Scott
Thomas) and Nigel (Hugh Grant), yound British newly weds
who are cruising towards India. Both actors are perfectly
cast - doing exactly what they do best. She a direct upper-middle
class gal and he a daffy upper middle-class Nigel.
They help a French girl Mimi (Emmanuelle
Seigner) who is sea-sick.. Later, Nigel finds her at the
bar; and tries to chat up, but she is not playing. As Nigel
returns to his wife, he is approached by Oscar (Peter Coyote),
a man in a wheelchair, who needs a hand to get to his cabin.
Oscar turns out to be Mimi's husband. He
invites Nigel into his cabin for a drink and Nigel accepts.
Oscar tells him about how he fell in love with Mimi. In
flashback we see him wooing her. Oscar's love for her is
intense. As he says "Nothing ever surpass the rapture
of that first awakening. I might have been Adam with the
taste of apple fresh in my mouth. I was looking at all the
beauty in the world embodied in a single female form ..."
As the film develops we see Mimi flirting
with Nigel but repeatedly rejecting his advances - she is
worldly and self-confident - he is innocent and tentative.
Fiona becomes aware of his infatuation. So does Oscar, a
hard bitten American, who entices the helpless Nigel with
tales of Mimi.
The story is told by Oscare in installments,
each triggering a flashback. set in Paris. We see Mimi,
almost painfully sexy, even at breakfast. Especially at
breakfast, to the accompanyment of George Michael's song
Faith.. She loves to dance and performs wonderful
erotic dances for Oscar.
As the story progresses each flashback
installment becomes increasingly dark. Oscar's love for
Mimi turns sour, and her love for him turns even more sour.
Each terrible turn of the the downward spiral of sex and
sexual manipulation. The story goes from happy and erotic
to truly grim. Oscar and Mimi behave so badly to each other
not because they dislike each other but because they love
each other so intensely. As Oscar observes "It's no
fun hurting someone who means nothing to you".
This is an unfamiliar world for Nigel whose
own world is polite and whose love is shallow and conventional.
He is horrified but transfixed. Like the Ancient Mariner
he cannot chose but hear as the tale gets ever deeper and
The denoument comes after a shipboard New
Year's Eve party, Nigel attempts to dance with Mimi, and
Oscar seems to encourage him, but Fiona is not impressed.
For her the p[arty is over. After a surprise twist, Mimi
and Oscar's maelstrom spiral finally reaches the bottom
All of the four principal actors are fantastic.
So is the script. Some of the lines chill your very soul,
as when Mimi exolains why she no longer dances.
This film is highly recommended for those
who like their stories exceptionally dark - and perhaps
those engaged in a mutually destructive relationship.
Stockard Channing appears briefly in an
uncredited role (Beverly), a literary agent who criticizes
Oscar's affecting the persona of an American writer in Paris
as passé and unmarketable.
The film is known in French as Lunes
de fiel (a pun on "Lune de Miel", meaning
The script was inspired by a book of the
same name, written by the French author Pascal Bruckner.
The score was composed by Vangelis.
In real life Emmanuelle Seigner is married
to Roman Polanski