"Pauline At The Beach" (1983) is an interesting film that you are likely to enjoy, even if you are not one of Eric Rohmer's fans. If you are already an admirer, though, you will simply love this movie, due to the fact that it displays the reason why Rohmer is such a respected director.
Before talking about this film, a short introduction to Rohmer for those that are not familiar with him is in order. Rohmer (Jean Marie Maurice Schérer, born in 1920 in France) is part of "La Nouvelle Vague" (= "The new wave"), a movement that says that the director is an "author" and that as such, his personal signature is evident in his work. Among the most well-known films of this French director, there is a cycle of films called "Six Moral Tales", a series called "Comedies and Proverbs" (in which each film is based on a different proverb), and a third series entitled "Tales of the Four Seasons".
"Pauline At The Beach" (= "Pauline à la plage"») is the third film in the "Comedies and Proverbs" series, and the proverb around which it is centered is "Qui trop parole, il se mesfait". The plot is not difficult to follow, but it is interesting, specially if you pay close attention to the dialogues among the characters, a Rohmer trademark.
The main character is Pauline (Amanda Langlet), a young teenager that goes to the beach with Marion (Arielle Dombasle), a relative that has divorced recently and is ready for something new, in other words an affair. Pierre (Pascal Greggory), an old acquaintance and Henri (Feodor Atkine), a newcomer, vie for Marion's attention. Pauline thinks that Pierre is the right one for her cousin, but Marion has other ideas, preferring Henri. Henri is not as smitten with her as Pierre, but that, and the fact that he remains elusive, are part of his attraction from Marion's point of view. Pauline will also meet a young boy, Sylvain (Simon de La Brosse), with whom she begins something resembling a relationship. But how will her cousin's love life affect her own? And will their differing views regarding love affect their new relationships?
The dialogue about the true nature of love among Pauline, Marion, Pierre and Henry is one of the highlights of this film. The undercurrents between the older characters are deep, and in that sense, Pauline directness is refreshing. This dialogue also allows the spectator to get at least an idea of how things are going to end for each of the characters, even though, of course, there are some unexpected surprises.
All in all, I think this is one of Rohmer's best films, along with "A summer tale", "A winter tale" and "Boyfriends and girlfriends". Highly recommended!