Reflections of love

Some 20 years after one of his earliest successes My Sex Life … or How I Got Into an Argument, filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin revisits the character of Paul Dedalus (again played by Mathieu Almaric) in My Golden Days (originally titled Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse and also known as My Golden Years).

The adult Paul shows up from time to time throughout the narrative, which encompasses three chapters – “Childhood,” “Russia” and “Esther,” followed by “Epilogue.” The longest segment by far is the one devoted to “Esther,” who was Paul’s first love and the one who still haunts him more than 20 years later.

Luminous newcomer Lou Roy-Lecollinet plays the passionate, neurotic, sometimes devastatingly fickle Esther, while Quentin Dolmaire (his screen debut, too) plays the young Paul, whose passion for Esther is itself compromised by his own insecurities and misgivings.

As the title indicates, My Golden Days is very much a coming-of-age tale, and despite a tendency toward over-length, the performances of Roy-Lecollinet and Dolmaire perfectly capture the universal angst of adolescent infatuation, which tends to linger longer in the heart than they would admit to themselves – or to each other – at the time, only to realize it when it’s far, far too late.

(In French, Hebrew and Russian with English subtitles) – My Golden Days opens Friday !