Goodbye First Love

Barely Standing After a Farewell


20 April 2012| No Comments on Goodbye First Love     by Sean Chavel


It’s in touch with first heartbreak. Goodbye First Love (in French with English subtitles) on the downside is a little slow in its pacing. But it is a young adult movie that could possibly serve some purpose for thinking teenage girls who don’t mind being patient during a film. The themes and lessons here are valuable, so while it’s no run in the park, it might be the quiet reflection movie you need. 15-year old Camille (Lola Creton) is the good girl, thoughtful and perceptive, but hamstrung by low self-esteem. The boy Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) is shallow, vain and stupid. It angered me to watch this virtuous girl smitten with this void of a person. Warning: the actors are older, alas, there are nudity shots since it deals with sexual carnality in an honest way.

The boy thinks he’s more mature than anyone else. He’s going to drop out of school so he can go on a young Che Guevara-like trek in South America. He will be gone for ten months, but will return to Camille. But he makes out with other girls, and thus, writes her a break-up letter. Indirect communication like this isn’t his only act of cowardice in this film.

Camille goes through several years of depression, and isolation. Her parents are not very consoling, and at early adult age, she lives to learn on her own. She falls for her architect teacher, a much older man who has insight into her strengths and weaknesses. An interesting older man with much to teach, with much to open her up about, with a spiritual foundation, is something that is good for her. But after several years have passed, Sullivan has insinuated himself back into her life. Camille finds herself sleeping with two men. She is in denial of the problems she is setting herself up with.

This is relatable material handled with frankness (American productions of this same story would cater too much to character likeability, and make this into a formulaic “triangle”). Filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love (“Father of My Children”) isn’t exactly a wizard though at structure. She’s not a great filmmaker. A great filmmaker can inject three great ideas into a single scene. Hansen-Love goes after one idea at a time with each of her scenes, and her picture gets dragged out. Story economy is something for Hansen-Love to learn. But there is nevertheless something for us to learn from this story.

110 Minutes. Unrated. French in English subtitles.


Film Cousins: “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986); “Crazy/Beautiful” (2001); “500 Days of Summer” (2009); “Blue Valentine” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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