Best Years of a Life, The: Lelouch Revisiting (Again) his Oscar Winner A Man and a Woman

Claude Lelouch’s romantic classic A Man and a Woman is one of the most successful French films of all time. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1966, followed by Academy Awards for screenplay and Best Foreign Language film.

Lelouch returned to the 2019 Cannes edition for the premiere of his latest drama, The Best Years of a Life, which reunites the iconic stars of his most popular film, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimee, playing the same characters 53 years later.

The director, in self indulgent mode here, tries but fails to recapture the charm and magic of the original.  Sporadically, there’s bittersweet humor and poignantly self-referential insights.

Enduring affection for the two stars, reunited as screen lovers, and for the original film, may slightly help the commercial appeal of The Best Years of a Life, especially in France.

The new film conveniently overlooks Lelouch’s previous sequel, A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later, which was a critical and commercial flop in 1986.