A Little Romance (1979)

A Little Romance (1979)

Synopsis:

A 13-year-old American girl (Diane Lane, Unfaithful) attending school in Paris, France, meets and falls in love with a precocious French boy (Thelonious Bernard), who is also a huge fan of classic American movies. They both befriend Julius (Laurence Olivier, Rebecca), an old con man, and soon his fantastic tales of love and adventure take all of them to Venice, Italy, to the consternation of the girl’s parents.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“If two lovers kiss in a gondola, under the Bridge of Sighs, at sunset, when the bells of the Campanile toll, they will love each other… forever.”

Once in a while, a movie with no great expectations comes along and catches audiences by surprise with its simple and charming storyline. I think I could say with a certain degree of accuracy that A Little Romance is one of those films — a charming and sweet little film that earns the audiences’ laughter and tears in a sincere manner.

A Little Romance was directed by George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). I was adapted by Allan Burns (Just the Way You Are) from Patrick Cauvin’s (aka Claude Klotz) French novel E=MC2, Mon Amour. I have always loved this film, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that A Little Romance is one of the most effective coming-of-age movies I’ve ever seen — it’s a complete delight from beginning to end!

The movie is touching without being too sentimental, funny without relying on obvious slapstick, and absolutely enchanting without ever becoming coy or cutesy. French composer Georges Delerue’s (The Day of the Jackal) Oscar-winning music score, a pleasure to listen to, and add immeasurable to the film’s whimsical atmosphere. Pierre-William Glenn’s (A Dry White Season) cinematography is great, too.

The cast is impeccable. Newcomers Diane Lane and Thelonious Bernard are great as the two young lovers (it’s hard to believe that this is their very first movie). And then there is the great Lord Larry Olivier, shamelessly and deliciously, hamming it up as the elderly con artist who becomes the kids’ unlikely chaperone and matchmaker.

There is also some fine support from Arthur Hill (The Andromeda Strain) as Lane’s understanding stepfather, Sally Kellerman (Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H) as Lane’s snobbish mother, Anna Massey (Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy) as a teacher, David Dukes (Alan J. Pakula’s See You in the Morning) as an egotistical film director, and Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Broderick Crawford (All the King’s Men) as himself.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

A Little Romance is an unfeigned ode to innocence, first love, and all those little things that make life so special. It’s also a great homage to old-school movie making. For those of you that simply want to watch a good film, this is one of those few family films that actually deals with important issues. So, gather your family together and give the movie a chance – you won’t regret it. A Little Romance is a witty and charming “little” movie with a big heart. Highly recommended! Color, 108 minutes, Rated PG.

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