From Valseuses to Imaginary Loves, via Jules and Jim and The Mom and the Whore, the love triangle in cinema represents (practically) a genre in itself. Between drama and romantic comedy, the sentimental waltz-hesitation transposes well on the screens of the seventh art. And those of our hearts.

You still have to get attached to the members of the trio. At least one or two… Unfortunately, the trio of Passages leaves us cold. However, this first film shot in France by the American director, and Francophile, Ira Sachs (Love is Strange; Brooklyn Village) is carried by three brilliant performers: Ben Whishaw, Franz Rogowski and Adèle Exarchopoulos. However, the story of their romantic disappointments remains conventional, even banal. Without the depth or accuracy of the works cited above.

Impossible to be moved by this love triangle, each member of which is unsympathetic to us. From the first scene, Tomas (Franz Rogowski) is portrayed as a narcissistic and manipulative being. Her cuckolded partner, the shadowy Martin (Ben Whishaw), seems more jaded than hurt. While Agathe remains a character on the surface. Moreover, despite her Bardot-like magnetism, we doubt that she will be able to change sides with this homosexual who has never slept with a woman before meeting Agathe. In fact, the two lovers never look each other in the eye…

The director is assisted by solid collaborators, including Montrealer Josée Deshaies in the cinematography and Khadija Zeggaï in the costumes. Their work illuminates the screen, failing to illuminate this love story that will end badly. We don’t sell punch; you guess after 10 minutes. Despite the assumed influences of Sachs for French auteur cinema – the Godards, Truffauts, Jean Eustache, etc. –, Passages has nothing of Jules and Jim or Contempt. His staging is not bad, but lackluster and unimaginative.

Finally, all its references, from one shot to another, to the great films of French cinema are more intellectual than really felt. Damage.