The first love depicted in Arnaud Desplechin’s coming of age film My Golden Days is completely evocative. That first love is inevitable even if the young lovers don’t know it yet, and then filled with passion, importance, obsession, angst, conflict, breakups and makeups. And then it runs its course.
The performance of Lou Roy-Lecollinet as the unpredictable object of the young protagonist’s affection really elevates My Golden Days. Roy-Lecollinet has looks which won’t attract every guy, but would be irresistible to some. She’s able to convincingly play a girl with a devastating combination of confidence, forthrightness, charm, wit, impulsivity and a wandering eye.
That story makes up the core of My Golden Days, a flashback bookended by the contemporary, middle-aged version of the protagonist (Mathieu Amalric). The story of young romance is perfect – one that we can all recognize. But, in the epilogue, the Amalric character (who has lived a full and eventful life in the 15-20 years since) is oddly still fervently bitter about what happened years before; with that distance, most of us would look back with nostalgia or, at least, a wistful acknowledgement of lessons learned. I was a bit put off.
And what’s with the lame title My Golden Days, which makes this sound like the story set in a retirement home? The original title is Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse which I think translates into Three Memories of My Youth – that would be better and there’s gotta be plenty of more appealing and descriptive titles.
My Golden Days, which I saw at Cinequest, is a movie that anyone who is decades removed from first love should see.