Betty Blue

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This article is about the film. For the model, see Betty Blue (model).
Betty Blue
Betty blue ver2.jpg
Simulation of the Italian-language film poster
Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Produced by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Written by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Philippe Djian (novel)
Starring Jean-Hugues Anglade
Béatrice Dalle
Vincent Lindon
Dominique Pinon
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography Jean-François Robin
Edited by Monique Prim
Distributed by Alive Films
Release date(s) 7 November 1986
Running time 120 minutes (185 minutes - Director's cut 2004)
Language French
Box office $2,016,851 (USA) [1]

Betty Blue is a 1986 French film. Its original French title is 37°2 le matin, meaning "37.2°C in the morning". (37.2°C [99°F] is the normal morning temperature of a pregnant woman.) The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and stars Béatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade. It is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Philippe Djian. The film had 3,632,326 admissions and was the eighth highest grossing film of the year in France.[2]

The film received both a BAFTA and Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986, as well as winning a César Award for Best Poster. In 1992 it was awarded the Golden Space Needle of the Seattle International Film Festival.

In 2005 a director's cut was issued, with about an hour of extra footage.

Plot summary[edit]

Betty (Dalle) and Zorg (Anglade) are passionate lovers who live in a shack on the beach. He works as a handyman. As the film begins, they have only been dating for a week and are in a very passionate stage of their relationship, portrayed in a graphic sex scene. Zorg narrates the story of their relationship via voiceover. He describes Betty as “like a flower with translucent antennae and a mauve plastic heart”. She quit her last job as a waitress because she was being sexually harassed by her boss.

Zorg's boss orders him to paint the 500 shacks that populate the beach. In response, Betty covers the boss’s car with pink paint.

During a nasty fight, Betty accidentally discovers a series of notebooks that contain a novel Zorg wrote years ago. Upon reading his novel, she realizes his true worth as a writer and tries to convince Zorg of it too. She is appalled at the menial work Zorg is subjected to and the nonchalant attitude he has toward his situation. Zorg, tries to write again, but cannot become inspired. The boss demands that Betty leave after Zorg is late again to work. Unbeknownst to Zorg while he is painting, Betty packs their things. When he is finished and comes back to his shack, Betty burns it and they to hitchhike with her to live with her best friend in the city.

Betty and Zorg move in to Betty's friend's place and Zorg does handywork in lieu of rent. The couple's intimate life does not skip a beat. Fueled by her passionate love for Zorg, she takes it upon herself to type up Zorg's novel and try to have it published. Zorg again tries to start writing again, but fails to do so. Worse, Zorg receives rejection letters for his novel. Fearing that they might upset Betty, he hides them. Betty and Zorg find work at Betty's friend's boyfriend's restaurant. All is well until a customer complains about Betty and she stabs her in the arm with a fork. When Betty discovers the rejection letters, she takes Zorg to the house of one of the publishers where she assaults the publisher.

Betty's friend's boyfriend's mother dies and Zorg, Betty and her friend accompany her friend's boyfriend to the funeral. Her friend's boyfriend inherits his mother's piano store and the house above it, and offers Betty and Zorg to run the store for him and live there in return. They accept and get the place to themselves. Zorg continues as a handyman around his new neighborhood for money and befriends a local store owner, Bob. One day while Betty and Zorg are in bed, Zorg stumbles upon medication Betty is taking. Betty shrugs it off as nothing. Another attempt to write is frustrated. Betty continues to be disappointed by Zorg accepting an ordinary life and failing to reach his potential. A trivial row between them leads Betty to punch a window, cutting herself.

Despite using birth control, a pregnancy test is positive. Zorg and Betty are overjoyed by the finding. Zorg buys onesies for their prospective baby. Betty goes to the doctor to confirm her pregnancy. Zorg comes home one day to find a medical paper that reads negative for pregnancy. Betty is nowhere in sight. Zorg comes home the next day to find Betty distraught both mentally and visibly. Frustrated and worried, he shows her that he loves her. Betty sinks into a deep depression. She says she hears voices and fear she is going mad. Zorg comes home one day to find blood splattered everywhere and Bob cleaning it up. Bob explains that Betty has gouged out her own eye.

Betty is sent to a mental hospital and is sedated. The doctor tells Zorg that she is mad and will need extreme treatment. His frustration with Betty's condition and the doctors causes him to assault the doctor and get kicked out of the hospital. He then gets news that someone wants to publish his book. He later returns, dressed as a woman, to visit Betty. She is sedated but restraints on the bed suggest she was struggling to escape earlier. Zorg whispers into her ear his feelings and swears to tell their story. Zorg, out of love and pity, then takes her pillow and smothers her to death. He returns home and makes chili as he was doing the day Betty first came into his shack. The movie ends with him finally writing his next book and hearing the voice of Betty as he did when they were happy together and participating in the small talk they used to have.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

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