Third revisit: It's hard to make an objective rating w/ a film which meant so much to me during my early years as a cinephile. And it's one which still greatly shakes me. But this third time around, I believe I can see its limitations more clearly, despite its awe-inspiring, nearly total sense of catharsis.
The grand finale of Rohmer's Six Moral Tales: one of the best, the most direct, the most lively, the most engaging, the most rewarding. It also occurs to me that—unless I'm misremembering the previous five—this is the only one where the man opens up to his femme at the end instead of leaving his "epiphany" locked in voice-over. And in contrast to Rohmer's infamously urbane dialogue, he can hardly put it into words.
Eric Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales” ends in the most beautiful, releasing moment in the entire series of films. It’s so powerful it feels inevitable, yet you don’t see it coming. Finally, after much trial, one of the director’s protagonists makes what, in my eyes, and his eyes, feels like a pure, true, and right decision. And yet I’m left with an aftertaste of unease and a worry of insincerity...
This is a film about, I think, an ugly truth, that idealism means very little until held to the flame. As has been mentioned this is precisely interesting for forgoing infidelity (much like each moral tale) and captures the essence of doublethink which humans always rationalise. But really it's all about that ending, stark nakedness of ambition and intent, our flaws and goodness writ large.
The moment of the dream-imagination, more properly rêverie, of the magnetic necklace with the various actresses-characters from the previous moralistes films is, and will always be, one of the most extraordinarily atypical moments of Rhomer's films, being, however, quite logical within his rambling and speculative organization of romantic. Almendros was the right accomplice for this (ir)realistic affective geometry.