Coming-of-age drama ‘My Golden Days’ feels vital
by Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Young love is a heady thing, and writer-director Arnaud Desplechin recounts it with an explosion of emotion in “My Golden Days.”
The film – a prequel of sorts to his 1996 film “My Sex Life, or … How I Got into an Argument” – is really three or four films in one. (Seeing the original isn’t necessary; at least, I wasn’t confused by what happened in this film, though perhaps my knowledge of the characters would have been deepened had I seen it.)
One short passage recounts young Paul Dedalus’ nightmarish childhood. Another, which plays like a heist movie, details a danger-laden high school trip to Russia. The third and longest chapter is the passionate retelling of his relationship with his first love. And it’s all wrapped in a framing story about an adult Paul (Mathieu Amalric, who starred in “My Sex Life”) being stopped at a Tajikistan airport and questioned by the authorities over why there appears to be someone else using his name and passport.
The heart of the story is the “Esther” chapter, named after the young woman (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) for whom teenage Paul (Quentin Dolmaire) falls head over heels. It’s swoony and nostalgic, with just a touch of melancholy lurking beneath the surface.
The young Dolmaire and Lecollinet are newcomers, but Desplechin draws out wonderfully natural performances from them, giving the film some lovely vitality.
“My Golden Days” is rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and language. It’s playing exclusively at Premiere Cinemas Westgate Mall 6, 7701 W. Interstate 40.