Movie Review: ‘3 Hearts’

The gently perfumed air of impending doom suffuses “3 Hearts,” a tasteful, mildly intriguing romantic drama from writer-director Benoît Jacquot. In subject matter, this atmospheric bagatelle is the stuff of either melodrama or screwball comedy, with its twists, turns, coincidences and domestic disasters. Depending on the filmmaker’s mood, each could be open to either tragic or hilarious spin. Jacquot unquestionably goes for the former, adding a tense, menacing tone that gives an already somber morality tale the taut dynamics of a thriller.

“3 Hearts” opens as Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde), a rumpled tax inspector, just misses his train back to Paris from an unnamed provincial town. At a loss, he repairs to a nearby cafe, where he spies Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Later, on the street, he bumps into her again, and they spend the night walking and talking, vowing to meet a week later at a designated spot in Paris.

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Fans of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” cycle may think they know how this ends. But Jacquot — who collaborated on the script with Julien Boivent — takes “3 Hearts” in a decidedly less lyrical direction, sending Marc and Sylvie down unexpected paths that will result either in blissful true love or thwarted desire. Adding complications to the mix are Sylvie’s mother and sister, played by real-life mother and daughter Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni, who play increasingly significant roles in a story that, while well-executed, ultimately amounts to little more than a minor diversion.

There’s no doubt that Jacquot knows his way around a world in which smoking, longing looks over wine glasses and furtive, shadowy kisses take the place of spoken dialogue. If he doesn’t always close the circle on some of his foreshadowings and subplots (one involves Marc’s investigation of the small town’s mayor), he manages to hold the viewer’s interest, heightened by frequent Hans Zimmer-esque “thromps” of foreboding minor-key chords. Poelvoorde isn’t entirely convincing as a man with whom women instantly fall in love, but all three actresses in “3 Hearts” are entirely believable as people hurtling toward Jacquot’s downbeat conclusion: Let’s just say that everything in the title winds up broken.

★ ★

PG-13. Contains adult themes, smoking and brief profanity. In French with subtitles. 106 minutes.

Book Review: ‘Michelle Obama - A Life’

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A new book about Michelle Obama reveals little-known details about the first lady and more fully outlines the ways her relationship with her husband shaped both their lives.

In the biography, “Michelle Obama: A Life,” veteran journalist Peter Slevin portrays the first lady as a full partner in her husband’s political career and not simply a reluctant political spouse, as she is sometimes represented.

When she was in her late 20s and he in his early 30s, the couple began making important decisions together, selecting the next steps on their career paths. Slevin, a former Washington Post writer, notes that before they married and after Barack completed Harvard Law School, he moved in with Michelle, while her mother lived downstairs.

“Back in Chicago after graduation, Barack lived with Michelle on the top floor of the Euclid Avenue house, upstairs from Marian Robinson, as he studied for the Illinois Bar Exam,” Slevin writes. They soon married, which was important to Michelle.

A few years later, Barack Obama began his political career with a bid for the state legislature. According to Slevin, Michelle worked hard for his first election. She may have had misgivings about his choice of career, but she believed in him, the book says. That belief carried her through successive campaigns.

The 346-page book, one of the few in-depth biographies of the first African American first lady, is filled with history and context, including an exploration of Chicago’s political and cultural scene and where Michelle Obama’s parents and grandparents fit within the city’s social structure. Unlike more recent popular political tomes, which are often awash with Washington insider gossip, Slevin’s telling includes little about machinations within the White House.

It does have a few moments that may ruffle Michelle Obama, who closely guards the privacy of her mother and daughters. Slevin resurfaces an old interview with Marian Robinson from the public television show “Chicago Tonight,” which profiled Barack Obama in 2004 as he ran for the U.S. Senate. Asked how she felt about Obama’s biracial background, Robinson said with a laugh: “That didn’t concern me as much as had he been completely white. . . . I guess that I worry about races mixing because of the difficulty — not for, so much for prejudice or anything. It’s just very hard.”

Slevin notes that the concerns didn’t cause her to oppose the marriage. Robinson’s son Craig has said his mother was supportive of his marriage in 2006 to his wife, the former Kelly McCrum, who is white. “The reactions of my mother and Michelle were somewhere between ‘Phew!’ and ‘Hallelujah,’ ” Craig Robinson wrote in his book “A Game of Character.”

The first lady’s office had no immediate comment on the book, which largely depicts Michelle Obama in a favorable light while also looking closely at the role race played in shaping her worldview, particularly at Princeton and Harvard Law.

“To say that during her Princeton years she could not envision an African American president is like saying the sun rises and sets every day,” writes Slevin, who was not available for interviews about his book until close to its April 7 publication. “Michelle believed that there existed a separate ‘Black culture’ and ‘White culture.’ ”

The White House granted Slevin very little access, but he began reporting on the future first lady eight years ago while serving as Chicago bureau chief for The Washington Post. He is now an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. For the book, he interviewed Michelle Obama’s mentors, staff members, former colleagues and relatives.

In the past, the first lady has not looked favorably on books about her. Upon the 2012 publication of “The Obamas” by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times, Obama told Gayle King, a journalist and friend: “I never read those books. . . . Who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel?”

The president has said his wife has begun working on her own memoir, to be published after his White House term ends.

Annual Student Art Show Winners Announced

GLENVILLE, WV—Winners of the eighth annual Glenville State College Juried Student Art Show have been announced. The show was open to any full time GSC student who wished to submit pieces of original art created during their college career. The show was judged by GSC Dean of Student Life and art professor Duane Chapman.

Brook Turner from Glenville, West Virginia won the Provost’s Award (best in show honors) as well as second place. Sophomore studio art major Kyra Parke-Davison won first place and freshman studio art major Devon Dennis won third place. Both students are from Glenville, West Virginia.  Honorable mention went to senior studio art major Ryan Singleton from Burnsville, West Virginia. The Linda Abraham Memorial Award went to senior graphics & digital media major Jazmin Gordon from Saint Albans, West Virginia.

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GSC Juried Student Art Show award winners
(L-R) Kyra Parke-Davison, Jazmin Gordon, Devon Dennis, and Ryan Singleton
(not pictured: Brook Turner)

“This year’s student art show was an excellent example of what working ‘outside of the box’ can produce. The student artwork shows that they are getting a fantastic base to experiment within their mediums and concepts to challenge themselves,” said Chapman. “It was a pleasure to be a part of this year’s student show,” he added. Chapman is a tenured associate professor of art at GSC where he has worked since 1997. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from GSC and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University. His teaching has included both lecture and studio art instruction.

The student show will remain on display until Friday, April 17, 2015.

For more information, contact Associate Professor of Art and Gallery Director Liza Brenner at or 304.462.6346.

GSC Theatre Group to Perform ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’

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GLENVILLE, WV - Members of the Glenville State College theatre group are getting ready for their next show, ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan,‘ a comedy by Martin McDonagh.

You can see the show on Thursday, April 16th, Friday, April 17th, and Saturday, April 18th at 7:00 PM in the Heflin Administration Building Presidents Auditorium.

General admission is $3.00 and is free for GSC students with a valid ID.

“This play tells the story of Billy Claven, a teenager who has grown up with an arm and a leg left unusable by a childhood disease. He’s also an orphan, and is being raised by his Auntie Eileen and Auntie Kate on a small island off the coast of western Ireland. Bullying and belittlement are the way of life for everyone on the island, though Billy probably catches the worst of it. With the arrival of an American filmmaker, everybody sees it as their chance to make it big and leave the island, but nobody wants it more than Billy Claven,“ said GSC Theatre Director and Professor of Communications Dennis Wemm.

Cast members for the performance include:

•  Jeremiah Underwood from Summersville (Nicholas County), West Virginia as Billy Claven;

•  Brittany Ferguson from Glenville (Gilmer County), West Virginia as Auntie Eileen;

•  Mary Lewis from Harpers Ferry (Jefferson County), West Virginia as Auntie Kate;

•  Eric Jones from Weston (Lewis County), West Virginia as Johnnypateenmike O’Dougal;

•  Neysa Brown from Alum Bridge (Lewis County), West Virginia as Mammy;

•  Brittany Robinson from Mabie (Randolph County), West Virginia as Slippy Helen McCormick;

•  Cody Mullens from Calvin (Nicholas County), West Virginia as Bartley McCormick;

•  Ryan Helmick from Grafton (Taylor County), West Virginia as Babbybobby Bennett; and

•  Travis ‘Tyler’ Hammack from Spencer (Roane County), West Virginia as Dr. McSharry.

‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ is intended for mature audiences and parents are strongly cautioned that the play is not recommended for children.

There are scenes of violence and strong language, though most of it consists of swearing in an Irish dialect.

For more information, contact Wemm at or 304.462.6323.

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