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)
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography Jean-François Robin
Edited by Monique Prim
Distributed by Gaumont
Release dates
  • 7 November 1986 (1986-11-07)
Running time
120 minutes (185 minutes - Director's cut 2004)
Country France
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". 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,[3] 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.


Betty (Dalle) and Zorg (Anglade) are passionate, sensual lovers who live in a shack on the beach. He works as a handyman. Zorg narrates the story of their relationship; 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 sexually harassed by her boss.

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

During a fight, Betty accidentally discovers a series of notebooks that contain a novel Zorg wrote years ago. Upon reading his novel, she believes in his genius as a writer and tries to convince Zorg of it. She is appalled at the menial work Zorg does and his philosophical attitude towards his situation. Zorg, tries to write again, but cannot become inspired. The boss demands that Betty leave, after Zorg is late again for work. Unbeknownst to Zorg whilst he is painting, Betty packs their things. When he comes back to the shack, Betty sets fire to it and they set off to live with Lisa, her best friend in the city.

Betty and Zorg move in to Lisa's place and Zorg does handywork in lieu of rent. Betty takes it upon herself to type up Zorg's novel to have it published. Zorg tries to start writing, but again fails to do so. Worse, Zorg receives rejection letters for his novel. Fearing Betty's reaction he hides them. Betty and Zorg are offered work at Lisa's boyfriend's (Eddy) restaurant. An awkward customer complains about Betty and she stabs her 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 by slashing his face. Zorg protects Betty by persuading the publisher to drop charges.

Eddy's mother dies and Zorg, Betty and Lisa accompany him to the funeral. Eddy inherits his mother's piano store and the house above it, and offers Betty and Zorg the opportunity to live there in return for minding the shop. Zorg continues to eke out a living as a handyman around the new neighborhood and befriends a local store owner, Bob. One day while Betty and Zorg are in bed, Zorg stumbles upon medication Betty is taking but Betty shrugs it off. 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, but Zorg and Betty are overjoyed. Zorg buys onesies for the baby. Betty goes to the doctor and Zorg comes home one day to find a medical note that reads negative for pregnancy. Betty disappears and Zorg comes home the next day to find Betty distraught, mentally and physically. He tries to convince Betty of his love but Betty sinks into a deep depression. She says she hears voices and fears 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 will need extreme treatment. His frustration with Betty's condition and the doctors cause 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. Zorg whispers his love into her ear and swears to tell their story. Zorg smothers her with a pillow from compassion. He returns home and makes chilli 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.


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