Eiffel, from France, is not entirely successful at telling the story of the construction of the Eiffel Tower or of the romance between Gustave Eiffel and Adrienne Bourgès. It tries to do both and be inspiring at the same time.
Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) was an engineer. He met the rich and beautiful Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) early in his career while building an all metal bridge. They fell in love and planned to marry until her parents stepped in and forced her to marry someone more “suitable.”
Time passed. Gustave married someone else and had three children before his wife passed away. Then Eiffel became famous because of the Statue of Liberty he engineered in America. When it was time for the 1889 Paris World’s Fair, he submitted a proposal for a 300 meter tower of steel to be built near the Seine River.
When Gustave won the competition to construct something for the World’s Fair, he and Adrienne met each other at a celebration. The attraction was still there. They started their romance up again in secret.
It was a constant battle to get the tower built. There were protests because Paris residents thought it was ugly. There were engineering problems and funding problems. The workers struck. The film jumps through these issues while telling more of the love story of Gustave and Adrienne.
Told in flashbacks and secret rendezvous, the love story and the construction story each had about 50% of the story. Neither got full treatment and there were gaps and omissions for much of the story.
I was interested in the engineering aspects of the story. The few times Gustave explained how the tower would be constructed to bankers and investors were fascinating. The guy was a genius at engineering. The love story was just the normal secret lovers stuff and not at all unique. However, it’s nice to see Emma Mackey get to exercise her French side and be a grown up after watching her brilliant performance in Sex Education.
In the end, the film left me disappointed that it wasn’t more complete and coherent. I watched it all and didn’t turn it off. It wasn’t a bad film, but I definitely wanted it to be better than it was.