In fact, Jules' absolute, unquestioning, and unshakable love for Catherine is successfully evoked, as are the sad consequences of her relationships with both her husband and his best friend. Although the director presents Catherine as a complex individual, not as a villain, he does allow the viewer to see the suffering her actions cause Jules as a result of his love for her. Truffaut also makes clear how Jules' own emotions keep him imprisoned in that relationship, even though it brings him nothing but pain.
The complex and sorrowful feelings that arise from the bond connecting Jules and Jim as a consequence of both men's involvement with Catherine are possibly even more moving. Sadly, however, their friendship with one another remains somewhat vague and unsatisfying. The formation and development of that relationship is quickly narrated at the beginning of the movie, but once the viewer has been informed of the bond joining the two men, the director does little else to reveal its depths. Instead of showing the emotions that draw the pair to one another, Truffaut takes their relationship as being understood by the viewer and focuses on the effect their involvement with Catherine has on it. We are saddened by the events related in the film, but, never being completely submerged in the lives of the protagonists, we never feel an intense sense of tragedy. Despite this, Jules et Jim is always engaging and pleasant to watch.
Fortunately, the movie has a number of appealing qualities in addition to the story it tells. It is universally well acted and nicely filmed. The three leads give good if not brilliant performances, and Truffaut displays real talent in his visual evocations of feelings of intimacy, of the beauty of the countryside, and the vibrancy of life in the city. The director's use of narrated sequences of brief clips is especially skillfully done, and these are, as a consequence, among the most enjoyable parts of the movie. The film is never truly beautiful, but it is always appealing.
While Jules et Jim is a good movie, it is never deeply affecting, stunningly filmed, or wonderfully performed. It is well made, but nothing more.
Review by Keith Allen
© 2005 email@example.com Keith Allen. All rights reserved.