From the very beginning, there are three aspects that draw one's attention: unforgettable performances, very down to earth story and unique musical score. Let me analyze these three factors in more details:
Romy Schneider gives a profound performance of a woman torn between men and her personal freedom, her personal independence. She represents a simple woman with whom mostly female audience may identify. Her feelings are changeable but her life heads to be straightforward. She fails many times but isn't it something most of us experience? Romy does a terrific job in the role, reaches the ultimate ability to feel the role to the very core. She once again proves how great actress she was, how flexible, how dynamic, how talented! I also liked Yves Montand as Cesar, a furious, jealous, nervous, sometimes loving authoritative man. His fury ends with calmness, his jealousy with forgiveness, his enemies with friends. Mr Montand portrays his character in a dynamic way and truly becomes the second great star of the movie.
The entire content is really very simple, yet not too simple not to be sophisticated enough. It is a complicated story of life, sometimes even confusing one but truly well executed. All is there for a strict purpose: humor in the story is to amuse at the most right moment so that it cannot disturb the point (consider, for instance the moment Cesar shows Rosalie his new shoes); drama is to tell us how attached to every single life it is (consider emotional insights galore), forgiveness to remind us that the world cannot exist without pardoning. As for simple life story, mind you a lot of scenes shot in a car - isn't that a symbol of journey, a sort of "voyage" that life is...? The highly unpredictable ending makes a perfect sense only when you analyze the whole story integrally, as life built upon joys and sorrows, quarrels and reconciliations. So in this aspect of showing simple people, Claude Sautet does a great job in this film, really innovative and extremely involving.
The music surprised me, even enthralled me. These were such memorable unique tunes that so much fitted to the entire story, to every single scene. The music absolutely reveals the confusion we find in life as well as the explanation that enlightens all previous doubts. Every single piece fits to the scene, one particular scene and in another one, it wouldn't fit at all. That goes in pairs with a number of memorable words that are said by the characters. I was under the spell of Rosalie when she said to Cesar "everything or nothing." Consider also how Cesar explains the purpose of his arrival on the beach one summer day when the sun shone onto heads more intensely.
Nice film, original one, a work that did not only remind me once again how great Romy Schneider was but the movie which made me interested in Claude Sautet. Although I have not seen many of his films, I'll look for them now and only thanks to this charming movie, CESAR E ROSALIE. Hope it'll be the same with you when you decide to see it and I give you my heartfelt advice, do watch it. It's not a 100 minute waste of time.