Casual cruelties of everyday life may have been exclusive to bourgeoisie in the 50s, but with globalization and technology, ennui has proven itself the ultimate egalitarian. If emptiness and melancholia persist still among today's youth, unlike Jean Seberg's cold yet worrisome Cecile, empathy is in shorter supply. Stunningly subtle and yes demanding, TRISTESSE's many pleasures come at the price of your attention.
A superficial story, wherein you don't actually get to know any of the characters well enough to really care about any of them. Good cinematography is not anywhere near as important as a good story, and this is not a good story, nor is it well told. A melodrama hidden inside the pretensions of French symbolism yielding an emotionally hollow result.
Watched this despite the sub par reviews, hadn't read the novella (not my bag) but found it classy with a decent enough story line, old school glamour cast, costume & location. The dialogue isn't great but the script rang true for this era and I found it an enjoyable watch for the genre.
I have to agree with others that the subtlety of the story works a lot better in the book. Here, the film medium is unable to capture the lingering and pervasive sadness (or tristesse) that is present in Sagan's writing. The Riviera scenes are great obviously, but somehow I expected more overall. Can't make up my mind about Seberg or any of the other actors either. A good movie, but also strangely bland.