Gainsbourg Review

Image for Gainsbourg

Up-and-coming singer-songer Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino) cuts his teeth on the cobbled streets of Nazi-occupied Paris. Before long he's on the radio and the path to fame, fortune and success. But it's a path fraught with troubles...


The Gallic equivalent of Frank Sinatra, Noel Coward and Shane MacGowan, Serge Gainsbourg was unique — a French singer/songwriter who redefined ’60s and ’70s national culture. It’s incredible, then, what Joann Sfar, a French comic-book artist, has managed to capture here. Eric Elmosnino miraculously nails Gainsbourg’s louche, lupine suavity and beguiling vulnerability, and scenes of the composer’s early life — a Felliniesque fairy tale where he’s tutored by vampiric puppet alter-ego, Gainsbarre — are truly powerful. Inexplicably, the second hour lurches into rock biopic clichés — drugs, bad wigs, and the cheesy recreation of the hit composition. Shame.

Eric Elmosnino is terrific as the louche French icon in Joann Sfar's vivid biopic. Shame about that second hour.