I have seen a lot of very strange movies. I’ve watched a psychotic tire kill people in Rubber and a maniacal dancing dream refrigerator leading a crazy parade invading the real world in Paprika. I think I can honestly say that Michel Gondry‘s adaptation of Froth on the Daydream is the oddest film I have ever watched.
Imagine for a moment that Douglas Adams focused more on philosophy and less on science fiction, went on an acid trip, and somehow transcribed the following hallucinations into a screenplay. Mood Indigo‘s plot is odd, but sounds more or less straightforward – Guy (Colin, played by Romain Duris) meets girl (Chloé, played by Audrey Tautou), they fall in love, and get married. When Chloé develops a flower growing in one of her lungs, however, the honeymoon is over as her health deteriorates. In trying to keep her alive, Colin allows the home to fall to shambles and is forced to take a very odd job to earn the extra money needed for his wife’s treatment. Omar Sy appears as Colin’s cook.
Like I said, it sounds more or less straightforward, if a little strange. The way it’s told and the world in which these people inhabit is anything but straightforward, however. Between an anthropomorphic mouse, a piano that makes cocktails, a dance that requires the legs to lose their structure, and the manufacturing of laser guns by growing them under mounds of dirt with naked men laying on top for warmth, it’s like Dr. Seuss helped populate those hallucinogenic nightmares of the tripping Douglas Adams. Logic doesn’t seem to exist in any form, though everyone treats this world without rules as completely normal.
There really is no explaining just how bizarre this movie really is. Perhaps if I understood existentialism (a major “plot” point) better I might take away something more from the experience. Nothing much happens, even as things constantly do. The whole thing feels like a pointless endeavor, though a remarkable one. Neither a summary of the plot nor a laundry list of the oddities – more or less the same thing as that’s what the plot seems to consist of – can do this film justice. For that reason alone it is worth the experience of watching it.
The absolute whimsical imagination on display here is fantastic as daydreams come to life in colorful fashion. Stop motion, often using yarn like in the latest Kirby video game or that scene from Hitchiker’s Guide, is often used, as is CGI and practical props and sets that continually make you scratch your head in wonderment.
This French language film has been cut down a full 36 minutes shorter everywhere outside it’s home country. Does it make more sense in its more complete form? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I can’t exactly call this movie good, but at the same time I can’t recommend you stay away from it either, just because you probably have never seen anything like it, and probably never will again.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“I liked the world this story takes place in, but the plot was too ridiculous (but somehow serious) to enjoy.”
My rating: Two out of five hats
Mood Indigo “biglemois” its way into an expanding release August 1