When I first saw Godard's Breathless, perhaps I had my expectactions high, or rather manipulated to be as such from reading other reviews, and I ended up thinking that while there was a flair for style and a rhythm that was a reminder of the jazzy feel in Cassavettes' Shadows, the characters, inparticular the lead, were too shallow, self-righteous, and all-too-vain for comfort - or perhaps too, well, French.
On a few more tries of the "groundbreaker of the French new-wave" (which I believe was at it's absolute best in Truffaut's 400 Blows, accessible to a wider audience), I see that Godard, as much as he probably loves his characters, he despises them as well, in a sense. It could even be suggested that Godard sees himself in the lead Belmondo's role, and if that's the case then Godard is practicing the old self-reflection trick (though the story is loosely based on a newspaper article, scripted by Truffaut himself). For those that can take such filmmaking, this is the treat of the week. And for film buffs it should be seen at least once to get an idea where most "affluent" independent filmmakers get their edge, and indeed its rhythm will give inspiration to struggling filmmakers. I might even see it again in several months to remind myself how inspired the jump cuts were that Godard used. But, I certainly don't think that it's among the greatest films ever.