Oct. 1, 2016
Home / Articles / Cinema / Ok /  A Brief Encounter With a Stranger on a Train
Movies JUST A SIGH 4

A Brief Encounter With a Stranger on a Train

'Just a Sigh' breathes heavily, but quietly

May 27, 2014, 12:00 am

Alix (Emmanuelle Devos), a Parisian actor working in Calais, and Doug (Gabriel Byrne), make their way from Calais back to Paris via train. Each is going through existential crises. Alix is broke, her relationship with her boyfriend of eight years seems strained and she’s eight weeks pregnant. Doug is traveling to a funeral for an old friend. The death has hit him hard.

They keep looking at each other, and upon arriving Doug asks her for directions. She doesn’t know exactly, but a busybody nearby does, and Doug and Alix part ways.

Except they don’t, because we know what happens with strangers on trains, right? Either it’s romance (Brief Encounter; Before Sunrise) or murder (Strangers on a Train; Throw Momma from the Train).

The film’s French title—Le temps de l'aventure, which translates roughly to “The time for adventure”—is better, because “just a sigh” only makes up part of the story. For Doug, there’s just the sigh of romance. For Alix, there’s a missed lunch and an angry sister and financial troubles and more.

There’s a sustained wistful feel throughout, even if some it is supplied by a pushy but lovely score. Jérôme Bonnell’s movie isn’t great—time is pretty elastic here—but it’s satisfying in its own quiet way.

Directed by Jérôme Bonnell
With Devos and Byrne
The Screen
105 min.


comments powered by Disqus

Morning Word: Stolen Email Lawsuit Dropped

Morning Word A federal lawsuit filed by several people who had their emails stolen by Jamie Estrada, a former Republican operative who gained control of the Gov. Susana Martinez 2010 web domain, has been dismissed. ... More

Sept. 27, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr


* indicates required
Choose your newsletter(s):
August 31, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm  
September 7, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller  
August 31, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller  
September 14, 2016 by Steven Hsieh  

@SFReporter on Instagram