Review: To Each, Her Own (Les goûts et les couleurs)

Sarah Stern, Jean-Christophe Folly, Julia Piaton in To Each, Her Own

To Each, Her Own (Les goûts et les couleurs) is a French film now on Netflix. I found the main character irritating in numerous ways, but stuck with it to the end to see what she would finally do. What she finally did was irritating, too.

There are major spoilers ahead.

Simone Benloulou (Sarah Stern) has lived for 3 years with her girlfriend Claire (Julia Piaton). She’s never come out to her parents, although her brother is gay and he’s come out. Simone’s Jewish family is planning a wedding for Simone’s oldest brother and everything happens with wedding plans in the background. Simone wants to bring Claire to the wedding but she can’t get the words about about Claire being her girlfriend.

Simone claims she’s been a lesbian since age 11. Yet one day she’s suddenly attracted to a Senegalese chef named Wali (Jean-Christophe Folly). She has sex with him. He’s a Muslim and everyone in his family, including himself, is anti-Semitic.

Simone confesses to Claire and says she loves her and asks for forgiveness. Claire throws her out. She tells Wali they can only be friends but continues to have sex with him. At no time in the movie does anyone use the word bisexual.

Simone communicates with people about as well as a block of wood. She reunites with Claire and then chases Wali down at his parents house and tells him she wants to be with him.

Simone goes to the wedding alone. Claire comes in one door. Wali comes in another. She kisses them both in front of her parents and they motor off together on Wali’s scooter, apparently a happy threesome.

I found the idea that Claire and Wali would just accept the idea the newly configured relationship with no discussion ridiculous. I also found it strange that a film that was apparently (I say apparently, because I’m not really sure) about a bisexual woman discovering her bisexuality never had Simone even voice the notion that she was bi.

The film seemed to say that bisexuals want to be with both sexes at the same time, which isn’t true. Most bisexuals are monogamous. Or was the film about a woman who discovers she loves two people at the same time? That’s a totally different thing.

I wasn’t so much irritated by what happened in the film, as I was by the lack of clarity about what happened from the main character. She wanders the streets in a daze and apologizes to a light pole when she accidentally bumps into one without realizing it isn’t another person.

To Each, Her Own (Les goûts et les couleurs) was written and directed by Myriam Aziza. There were many promising elements in the film – coming out, bisexuality, Jewish/Muslim relationships, parenting, polyamory – but none of those potential plot points really hit the mark.

Kiss 92.5 listed it as one of the LGBTQ movies you must see on Netflix during pride month. I think you’d be happier with one of their other choices.

The preview on Netflix has English subtitles, but I couldn’t find one with subtitles to share here. Now’s the time to polish up your French.

6 thoughts on “Review: To Each, Her Own (Les goûts et les couleurs)”

  1. Hi.
    Actually there’s a scene where the word ‘bi’ (for ‘bisexual’) is mentioned, in the French version at least. After Simone kissed Wali at the party and as a consequence on the following day she is to embarassed to go eat at the restaurant where he works, Simone’s friend Geraldine encourages her to just explain to him that she’s in a commited relationship and that she made a mistake (which of course Simone should had thought of by herself), and she tenderly and half jokingly says to her ‘en fait t’es un peu bi’ (‘actually you are a bit of a bi’). At this, Simone answers ‘si j’etais bi je le saurais’ (‘If I were bi I’d know’).
    And that’s it. No mention at all of bisexuality might possibly have been less ridiculous.

    1. Thanks for that information. My French isn’t good enough to pick up subtle bits like that. Simone’s answer ‘If I were bi I’d know’ doesn’t make me any happier with her.

  2. Being a member of the LGBT community in the U.S., viewing films concerning us is important to me, as an individual and an observer of films, foreign and domestic. After experiencing the liberating Netflix series Sense8, I’ve been utterly spoiled. As fond of French films and/comedies, To Each Her Own totally disappointed me. I know I’m very likely repeating many other comments on this film, but I found it neither amusing nor an honest representation of our community. Stereotypes and main characters flawed with no rational, real emotional values or lessons. Awkward script IMO, and please don’t get me started on the dubbing, I’ve seen and listened to better from Japanese anime series, and Korean films. I read the reviews, but thought I’d give it a chance, my mistake.

    1. I detest dubbing. I would much rather listen to the original actor’s voice, even if it’s in a language I don’t understand a single word of. You can control both the audio and the subtitles on Netflix, but it depends on your device. This page may help: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/372. Hearing an already mediocre movie with dubbed voices must have been torture.

      I agree that Sense8 is an outstanding example of how LGBTQ characters are portrayed in the media. I wanted to give this film a try because of the female director, which is a focus here on the blog. I hope her next film is better.

  3. My copy stopped just before the end , so I was happy to find out how it ended , I had no problem with the lack of communication , seemed totally realistic , and I think that was intensional . I would give it four stars , there was a little slapstick in it that did not work , so for that I take away a star . I know I probably am not the intended audience , for this movie , it’s a chick flick , I hate chick flicks , but I liked this one .

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