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Among other things, the film demonstrated that Poupaud could hold his own alongside Jeanne Moreau. While the latter used to be a dancer, the former is now a writer, and while the pair clash continually they decide to venture to France together in the hopes of rebuilding their relationship and saving their marriage.

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Their simplistic reactions to whatever happened in their past Roland's booze and Vanessa's rage are never properly explored, so the characters wind up being utterly superficial. But something deeply damaging has happened between Roland and Vanessa, and spying on this couple through a hole in the wall only offers a vague sense of mutual gratification.

Le Divorce represented Poupaud's first international role -- an attempt to rise above his largely continental appeal and melvil poupaud dating divas. Pitt and Jolie always seem aware that a camera is on them, striking poses and blurting their dialogue in ways that never feel remotely honest.

Actually, Poupaud had already sustained a decades-long career in the French film industry before joining the cast of that movie. Sporting dual passions -- one for music, another for movies -- Poupaud cut his chops as a musician on the drums, then formed the Euro rock band Mud with his brother Yarol Poupaud, while continuing to land movie roles on the side.

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Poupaud worked under the aegis of A-list French directors such as Jacques Doillon and Eric Rohmer -- typically pure romances or romantic comedies, often typecast as a snotty, slightly conceited jerk.

Meanwhile, Vanessa prowls around their vast suite in a grand villa perched on the edge of the sea, latching onto the newlywed couple Melvil Poupaud and Melanie Laurent in the room next door. A novelist, Roland is also trying to snap out of writer's block, so he explores local village and chats with cafe owner Michel Niels Arestrup for inspiration.

What they really need to do is confront the elephant in their own room.

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It's the mids on the Mediterranean coast in southern France, and Americans Roland and Vanessa Pitt and Jolie descend into an isolated cove for a getaway to rescue their collapsing relationship.

And this leaves everything from their big mood swings to their moments of quiet tenderness feeling rather pointless. Christened after Herman Melville by his screenwriter mother, Poupaud launched off into acting in primary school, with a role in La Ville des Piratesdirected by the esteemed Raul Ruiz -- not a bad start for a ten-year-old.

But with accusations of infidelity plaguing their lives, struggles with mental instability on both parts and even violent altercations happening almost daily, can their marriage really be saved by their newfound friends and a glorious sea view?

It's made on a lavish scale, with achingly beautiful locations and costumes, plus references to classics from Plein Soleil to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Melvil Poupaud

Jan 26, Birthplace: The actor followed this up with a respectable contribution as the romantic lead in Zoe Cassavetes' drama Broken Englishopposite American indie darling Parker Posey. But none of that can hide the fact that this is a stilted, contrived movie about two loathsome people we wouldn't want to spend five minutes with, let alone two very long hours.

By contrast, the French actors invest an easy authenticity to their much smaller roles, grounding the setting with an earthiness that only makes Roland and Vanessa look even more alien.