Joeseph L. KalcsoIt is 1885 in Paris, France. Camille Claudel, a young, gifted sculptress of genial ability is just beginning to discover life. To her misfortune, Auguste Rodin shares the same obsession for clay and sculpting. Camille soon becomes his disciple and lover. When Rodin asks for an opportunity to make a sculpture of her, she sculpts him, too, and astonishes him to the point of jealousy with her work.
Thus, the relationship is doomed. Rodin has another woman whom he is not willing to give up and his main interest in Camille apparently is her ability to fuel his own creativity. Camille, on the other hand, is willing to sacrifice everything for his love, including her own creative genius. When Rodin refuses to leave the other woman, Camille aborts his child and starts down a slippery slope toward insanity. Camille’s brother, Paul, eventually has her committed to a mental institution for thirty years where she dies an old woman.
The film provides an insightful look at family relationships. Paul, for example, has been ignored by his parents who were more interested in Camille’s artistic potential. As a result, Paul turns to God and consequently becomes the true success, whereas Camille disappoints and hurts everyone.
However, utter selfishness seems to drive the plot and propel every character: Camille’s father, who wants to see his children succeed more for himself than anyone else; Rodin, who uses Camille as creative fodder; Camille, who aborts her baby to get back at Rodin; and, even Paul, who finds more fulfillment in what God has done for him than what God could do through him.
What really could have been an insightful and revealing true story is an uneven, halting melodrama. The film does show, though, the plain, hard work that goes into sculpting (ie: Camille digging up her clay), but there are just not enough shots of sculpting to make worth viewing this predictable story of how lives apart from God are ruined, even when we seem to have everything we need to be successful.
Adultery, nudity and abortion