Sabine is more in love with the idea of marriage than the man she proposes to wed. Director Eric Rohmer turns his lens upon a young woman to expose the shallow emotional tide that drowns with naïve passion.
The charming Sabine is emotionally backwards, her 25 years belie her forceful ignorance and selfishness, her vow not to a man but to herself to get married immediately. When she is introduced to Edmond she focuses all of her attention towards making him fall in love. But the harder she pushes the harder she falls. The second film in Rohmer’s Comedies & Proverbs hexalogy concerns itself with the adage “Can anyone refrain from building castles in Spain?” We are all guilty of loving an ideal more than the real, of struggling to fit the square peg through the round hole, of trying to mold another into an appointed role, and Sabine is guilty of exactly these things. Edmond is very busy with his career and at first it seems that he is interested in a relationship though he seems to sense Sabine’s urgency. It gradually becomes obvious that he is tuning her out of his life, that he doesn’t have room for romance; the irony is that he and Sabine are a very good match…they just met at the wrong time.
Rohmer eschews his signature visual detachment and utilizes close-ups and slow zooms to create immediacy and intimacy, bringing the audience in close contact with the characters while eliding outside distractions. Sabine is always moving and Rohmer’s point of view perspectives, flashing scenery from a car or train, represent her restlessness.
Finally, Sabine discovers the potential for romance when least expected, and it’s when her defenses are weakened that love gains strength. Final Grade: (B)