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The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)

De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Music | 16 March 2005 (France)
Will Thomas still lead a life of crime and cruelty, just like his thuggish father, or will he pursue his dream of becoming a pianist?

Director:

Jacques Audiard

Writers:

Jacques Audiard (scenario), Tonino Benacquista (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 20 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Romain Duris ... Thomas Seyr
Niels Arestrup ... Robert Seyr
Jonathan Zaccaï ... Fabrice
Gilles Cohen Gilles Cohen ... Sami
Linh Dan Pham ... Miao Lin
Aure Atika ... Aline
Emmanuelle Devos ... Chris
Anton Yakovlev Anton Yakovlev ... Minskov
Mélanie Laurent ... Minskov's Girlfriend
Agnès Aubé Agnès Aubé ... Woman
Etienne Dirand Etienne Dirand ... Old Man
Denis Falgoux Denis Falgoux ... Metreur
Serge Onteniente Serge Onteniente ... Man
Sandy Whitelaw Sandy Whitelaw ... Mr. Fox
Emmanuel Finkiel ... Conservatory Professor
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Storyline

Twenty-eight-year-old Tom leads a life that might be termed as criminal. In doing so, he follows in the footsteps of his father, who made his money from dirty, and sometimes brutal, real estate deals. Tom is a pretty hard-boiled guy but also strangely considerate as far as his father is concerned. Somehow he appears to have arrived at a critical juncture in his life when a chance encounter prompts him to take up the piano and become a concert pianist, like his mother. He senses that this might be his final opportunity to take back his life. His piano teacher is a Chinese piano virtuoso who has recently come to live in France. She doesn't speak a lick of French so music becomes the only language they have in common. Before long, Jacques' bid to be a better person means that he begins to yearn for true love. But, when he finally has the chance of winning his best friend's wife, his passion only succeeds in scaring her. And then, one day, his dubious past comes to light... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Can music tame the raging soul?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

16 March 2005 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Beat That My Heart Skipped See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR5,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$65,365, 3 July 2005

Gross USA:

$1,023,424

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,757,109
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's title comes from a line in French singer Jacques Dutronc's song, "La fille du père Noël" ("Santa Claus's daughter"). See more »

Quotes

Sami: Playing piano is making you flip. Stop it now!
Thomas Seyr: Nothing's making me flip. I'm not flipping. I'm having a ball. I feel fantastic, dont' you see? It's important, I'm serious about it.
Sami: You gonna make dough from pianos?
Thomas Seyr: Not pianos, the piano! It's not about making money, it's about art.
Sami: What's in it for us? You coming to meetings all, 'Hi guys, I've been playing piano.' Shit, I'll take up the banjo.
Thomas Seyr: It's over your head
See more »

Connections

Remake of Fingers (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Après une lecture de Dante (Années de pèlerinage II)
de Franz Liszt (as Liszt)
Interprète piano: Caroline Duris
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Portrait of the artist as a young hoodlum
13 March 2006 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Tom Seyr (Romain Duris) is a nattily dressed 28-year old Parisian real estate debt enforcer who works for his father (Niels Arestrup), a sleazy housing profiteer. Seyr and his low-life buddies, Fabrice (Jonathan Zacca) and Sami (Gilles Cohen), acquire property for resale at a profit, making certain by any means necessary including violence that all squatters are removed. When a chance encounter opens the possibility for the opportunity for Tom to become a concert pianist like his mother, he finds that breaking away from his past is not so easy. Winner of eight César awards including best film and best director, Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a loose remake of James Toback Fingers starring Harvey Keitel. In Fingers, Keitel plays the son of a gangster and a concert pianist who is torn between the efficiency of his father's profession and the passion of his deceased mother.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped is shot with dark colors to create a mood of foreboding. It is not all atmosphere, however. Audiard uses disorienting jump cuts, bizarre camera angles, and a hand-held camera close to the character's anatomy to create a frenetic pace and energy to spare. Romain Duris, a young French actor loaded with talent and charisma, plays the tightly wound Seyr with manic intensity. He is an operator on the lowest level, beating up restaurant proprietors that are delinquent in their bills and unleashing rats in a tenement to drive out the squatters. He seems to relish the jobs he is asked to do but still dreams of becoming a concert pianist. When he runs into his mother's former concert manager, (Sandy Whitelaw) he asks for the opportunity for an audition, then engages a petite Chinese piano teacher Miao Lin (Linh-Dan Pham) to assess his abilities. Since he does not speak Chinese and she does not speak French, the film could have been called Read My Lips II.

Miao is a civilizing influence and tries to stop Seyr from attacking the piano as if he was clubbing a tenant behind in his rent but cannot put a lid on his temperament. Their relationship develops slowly but erupts as both explode in frustration at his inability to follow instructions or master Bach's Toccata. To make life even more complicated, he is having an affair with his best friend's wife, and also brazenly seduces a mobster's girlfriend. While continuing to develop his artistic sensibility, Seyr carries out his father's suggestions to "take care" of recalcitrant payees, presumably out of love or guilt or both. He is very protective of his father and does not refuse his requests, though he has little respect for him, telling him that the woman he is thinking of marrying is a whore.

When Seyr agrees to take on Minskov (Anton Yakovlev), a Russian Mafia boss who does not keep his promises, it is clear that he is in over his head and he begins to rethink his relationship with his father. Audiard captures the character's nervous intensity and brings the macho sub-culture of Paris to life, yet the film lacks any semblance of warmth. The Beat That My Heart Skipped is about choices and the willingness to change our direction in life and we relate to Seyr's struggle with different sides of his personality. While Duris' performance rings with a fundamental honesty, I found it difficult to locate a common humanity with this dark, shady man. His cold, abrasive personality and the film's gratuitous violence make this portrait of the artist as a young hoodlum difficult to embrace. Somehow thuggery against poor people and the humanity of Beethoven or Mozart seem incompatible. While there is a lot to admire here, for me it is a film that my heart skipped.


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