"Tragedy Overcomes Joy"
What You Need To Know:
In MOOD INDIGO, objects come alive in a funny, inventive manner. There’s even a man in a mouse suit who plays the little mouse creeping in Colin’s floorboards. As Chloe’s condition worsens, the objects take on a darker tone. All this leads to a tragic, rather depressing ending. MOOD INDIGO won’t be to everyone’s taste. Extreme caution is advised due to brief foul language, nudity and some light sexual connotations.
(Ro, C, PC, L, V, S, NN, A, D, MM) Light Romantic worldview where husband and wife and their joy and hopes are crushed by tragic circumstances, a church wedding occurs, and an apparent anti-war statement in one section that may seem a little pacifist and politically correct; four obscenities include one “d” word, one “h” word, an “ah” word, and another a** word, but no profanities; some allusions to war, objects destroyed, two couples race to church in two small cars, and woman dies; implied sex scene and protagonist’s best friend lives with girlfriend; upper female nudity in one shot of semi-nude women sitting in car; alcohol use; smoking; and, gambling, dancing, hopeless ending is full of unrelieved sadness.
MOOD INDIGO is a quirky, surrealistic French movie from inventive filmmaker Michel Gondry. It’s a tragic-comic love story about a wealthy bachelor and his paramour, who suddenly develops an unusual illness after they get married.
The story opens with the rich bachelor, Colin’s, best friend visiting Colin’s quirky house. Colin shows his friend one of his inventions, a “pianococktail” which makes cocktails! Colin’s trusty chef, a black man named Nicolas, makes tasty dishes for Colin and his visitors, and the food and plates literally dance around the table and automatically clean themselves up. The movie also shows a man in a mouse suit, who plays the mouse that lives in Colin’s floorboards.
Colin and his friend, Chick, are into Duke Ellington jazz and swing music. Chick invites Colin to a party to introduce Colin to Chick’s new American girlfriend. Colin goes to the party in hopes of falling in love with someone there himself.
Sure enough, Colin meets Chloe at the party. Before they know it, they’re dancing to Duke Ellington in an exaggerated, old-fashioned way that involves more animated tricks. Everyone’s legs seem to lengthen magically as they dance in a jitterbug fashion.
Colin and Chloe enter a whirlwind courtship. On their honeymoon, however, Chloe develops an unusual illness when a waterlilly begins to grow in her lungs. The only thing that seems to help Chloe is for Colin to surround her with a never-ending supply of fresh flowers. Will it be enough to save her?
MOOD INDIGO is a faithful adaptation of a surrealistic novel by French jazz enthusiast, musician and writer Boris Vian. Vian contracted rheumatic fever as a child, and this gave him a heart condition that led to an early death. So, the story in his novel about Chloe’s illness is partly based on his personal experience. Like the movie, in the novel, real world objects respond to the characters’ emotions. Thus, for example, as Chloe’s condition worsens in the movie, the inventions in her and Colin’s house start to break down and the windows get grimier, letting through less and less sunshine. Also, Colin’s inherited wealth begins to disappear. All this leads to a tragic, rather depressing ending.
MOOD INDIGO won’t be to everyone’s taste. The ending is unrelentingly sad. However, the filmmaking is very clever and even hilarious, especially in the first half. Finally, extreme caution is advised due to brief foul language, nudity, the rather hopeless ending, and some light sexual connotations. Ultimately, tragedy overcomes joy in MOOD INDIGO, including the joy of Duke Ellington’s music.