Four Lovers


Four Lovers

[original title: Happy Few]

Screenplay by Antony Cordier & Julie Peyr

Cinematography by Nicolas Gourin

Production by Martine Cassinelli & Isabelle Tillou

Edited by Christel Dewynter

Sound by Cyril Moisson

Music by Frédéric Verrières

Produced by Sébastien Lemercier & Pascal Caucheteux

Directed by Antony Cordier




Marina Foïs

Élodie Bouchez

Roschdy Zem

Nicolas Duvauchelle

Jean-François Stévenin

Alexia Stresi

Blanche Gardin



Theatrical: Why Not Productions

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories



Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 480i

Disc Size: DVD-9

Bit Rate: Moderate (avg. 6.0 Mbps)

Runtime: 105 minutes

Chapters: 18

Region: All



French Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 5.1


Subtitles: English



  1. Deleted Scenes (16:00)

  2. “Who’s Right?” 1950 (18:05)

  3. “Jealousy” 1954 (15:45)

  4. Theatrical Trailer for Jules Dassin’s “La Loi”


Custom Paper Gatefold DVD case: DVD x 1

Release Date: June 19, 2012



Official Selection:

Venice Film Festival

BFI London Film Festival

Rendez-Vous Film Festival


SYNOPSIS [Oscilloscope]

In this sexy, French romantic drama, two couples decide to explore the boundaries of their relationships by swapping partners. What starts as a fun, free-spirited ménage-a-4 experimentation full of sleepovers, shared vacations, and dinner parties soon turns into a hotbed of desire, anger, and confusion. As their arrangement leads them down an increasingly surprising and provocative path, the lovers begin to question their personal choices and lifestyles, leading to consequences none of them could foresee.



Critical Reaction:

Chicago Sun-Times

This is a movie about two married couples who decide to share each other's mates. There is little fascinating about them before they decide this, and still less after, because when it comes right down to it, looking at a lot of sex is not nearly as much fun as having it. . . You know there's something wrong with a sex movie when the good parts are the dialogue. – Roger Ebert

New York Times

The biggest problem with “Four Lovers,” whose screenplay was written by Mr. Cordier and Julie Peyr, is the degree to which it glosses over its subject and characters. To add up to anything more than a sexy romp with comic touches, it would have had to go much further than it dares. If the sex scenes tell you a little about the characters, they don’t reveal nearly enough. When the increasingly curious wives begin to question their spouses and to compare notes with each other, you want more explicit psychosexual details and stronger reactions. – Stephen Holden



The Movie : 6


The first rule of Fight Club is - everyone - You Do Not Talk About Fight Club. Secrets are difficult to keep and though the circumstances are different for the four people of the present title, the result is much the same: the bubble bursts and pain follows.

There is a great deal of lovely, quiet photography of good looking people, either having sex, or thinking about sex, or reacting to thinking about sex.  The two women seem to be the only observant characters, no surprise there - Rachel, especially, in dialogue, voice-over and her diary.  Though there is a great deal of soft porn throughout the film, the story is mostly about secrets, even in what appears to be an open marriage.  I wondered if having secrets in such an arrangement makes it all the more difficult to repair the damage, especially as regards loss, once they are out of the bag.  If you stay with the film until the end there are some achingly heartfelt admissions on the parts of Rachel and Teri that almost make the entire movie worthwhile.  The men, typical of our sex, can only act.


By the way, you’ll find stills that Oscilloscope provided movie critics apparently taken from the flour romp scene but where all the lovers all clothed.  I assume this is the G-rated still since the same scene in the DVD edition, which runs 105 minutes, is entirely nude.


Image: 8

The photography is unforced, naturalistic and pleasant to look at,  You might even find it mildly erotic, especially the parts where people are not nude.  Oscilloscope does their typically fine job at not getting in the way of the image during transfer.  It’s dramatic or dreamy as ordered by cinematographer by Nicolas Gourin.  That’s dreamy, not gauzy.  There is remarkable restraint here in its avoidance of filters and other gimmicks to achieve effect.  Points for this.



Audio & Music: 7/8

Oscilloscope offers two audio mixes: what I take to be the original in 2.0 stereo, and a 5.1 for those who can’t stand to see any of their audio channels sitting idle, which they do anyhow for most of the time.  Despite that the 2.0 is Dolby Digital and not PCM, it sounds pretty good anyhow: clear dialogue and subdued music in the spirit of Claude Lelouch’s 1966 feature length, romantic music video A Man and a Woman.

Extras: 5

The two gems in the bonus collection are the short, educational films from McGraw Hill based on Henry A. Bowman’s book “Marriage for Moderns.”  Bowman was the Chairman of the Division of Home & Family and Department of Marriage Education at Stephens College, which, by the way, along with an update to the department name, still flourishes in Columbia, Missouri.


Despite our first impressions of the title cards for these short films, they’re not nearly as laughable as “Reefer Madness.”  “Who’s Right?” - a feature that tries to look at both sides of a self-absorbed marriage -  and “Jealousy” - a psychologically astute dramatization of how we project our own feelings onto others - are serious, well-meaning attempts in the forum of higher education to address problem areas that often - one might say, inevitably - come up in marriage, but were not talked about frankly or directly prior to the “liberated” 60s.  “Who’s Right?” has a nasty vertical disturbance that resolves after 30 seconds.


Recommendation: 7

Four Lovers is not a bad film, it just doesn’t have a great deal to say, and takes a long time to get round to saying it.  Along the way, we are treated to pleasing photography of nice looking people.  Dramatic tension is muted until near the end, nor is there much doubt about the outcome.  The last fifteen minutes has a subtlety  that I rather liked.  Oscilloscopes transfer is just fine.



Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

June 10, 2012


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