It's all very French, and Sullivan (Urzendowsky) agrees: Goodbye First Love is all doomed romance and amour fou and navel gazing stuff. Like her last film, The Father Of My Children, Mia Hansen-Love has a knack of getting under the skin of her characters but also has a habit of sticking around too long.
amille (Creton) and Sullivan are madly in love and are made for each other. However, the longer we spend in their company it seems that Sullivan has sex on the brain and Camille craves his company 24/7 – she can't be alone and hates the fact that he's about to embark on a year's trip around the world. For her, that's the end of the world, and Sullivan tries to be the mature one, saying that it would be good for her to exist outside the two of them. That's easy for him to say, though, as he's the one doing the leaving. When he does leave and Camille slowly mends her broken heart, she studies architecture and falls for her lecturer (Brekke) but Sullivan has to return some time...
ia Hansen-Love wallows in the dynamics of the relationship. This is a psychoanalyst's dream: Sullivan wants to move on and resents the fact that Camille is making him feel guilty about leaving her, but it's her tears and her despair that makes him turn back and hug her after they have a fight. He likes the attention. Intimate and subtle, Goodbye First Love is the kind of film where getting a haircut is a major plot turn. It's all so personal and familiar that you can easily forgive Camille for hanging on such a dick who regularly blows off dates to party with friends – it's first love and we all did stupid things. This is all wonderful stuff.
hen things get less wonderful. The patience one has for the glacier pace begins to disappear and one realises that Mia Hansen-Love isn't just documenting the small intimate moments of two lovers – she's documenting everything! Leaving no stone unturned, Hansen-Love's hopes that the love affair she is having with the characters will spill over to the audience: no, familiarity breeds contempt and by the end the perpetual mopey nature of Camille and Sullivan grate. And then there's more of it. And then more.
utting a half hour from her film and the writer-director would have a genuinely charming love story on her hands but Goodbye First Love just rambles on and on...