Some would argue that in order to be a great artist, one would have to suffer great tragedies throughout life. In the case of France's Edith Piaf -- a legendary singer and performer loved by all, feared by most and hated by no one -- her constant suffering replaced passion for the craft, and with the new biopic La Vie en rose (or La Môme), we feel bad ... but it's really the only thing we feel. The opening night film at the 57th Annual Berlin Film Festival includes all the tasty little ingredients one has come to expect from a biopic about a singer/songwriter and performer and musician, including the unbearable-to-watch upbringing in which Edith is forced by her mother to live on the streets, sick and on the verge of dying.
Eventually she is rescued by her strict, inconsiderate father, only to be tossed into the hands of her frigid grandmother (the madam of a whore house) as if she were a stray animal in desperate need of a roof over her head. Then we get the moment in which our main character (in this case, Edith) learns she has a talent for singing and, if properly utilized, could garner her a nice chunk of change. We also get the rise to fame -- the cheers, the front page headlines, the obligatory montage -- the whole wing, bam boom. Somewhere in between, a little love affair is thrown in, with a touch of betrayal, then everything is capped off with a pinch of cancer and the unfortunate steady decline of a star.