Les Enfants Du Siecle review

Even Juliette Binoche can't rescue this conventional and visually uninspired romantic drama, which charts the turbulent love affair between two of the key literary figures in 1830s France, the cross-dressing female novelist George Sand (Binoche) and the poet and playwright Alfred de Musset (Sean Penn-lookalike Benoît Magimel).

Having met at a salon reading, the two embark on a passionate relationship, to the disapproval of de Musset's family. They then head for Venice, only for Alfred's dissolute lifestyle - - whoring, drinking, gambling and drug-taking - - to trigger increasingly acrimonious rows with George.

French director and co-writer Diane Kurys serves up some familiar clichés about tortured writers with dialogue such as: "You have to live badly to write well." It's regrettable that little attention is paid to their work, or to the wider society in which they existed.

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