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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' A Tense Drama About a Criminal's Turn Toward Classical Musicianship

Movie poster for the French film The Beat That My Heart Skipped starring Romain Duris

The Beat That My Heart Skipped (De Battre Mon Cœur S'est Arrêté) is tense and enthralling drama-thriller from 2005 starring Romain Duris as Thomas Seyr, a rough and shady real estate purveyor in modern-day Paris. Working under his father Robert (Niels Arestrup), Romain strong-arms immigrants and other dependents while circumventing government housing regulations—before an unlikely opportunity to explore his roots in classical music comes to fore.

The son of a concert pianist mother who died 8 years earlier, Romain chances to encounter his her former manager who recalls his competency behind the keys, and invites him to a professional audition. Aroused by the opportunity to shelve his misbegotten life of thuggery and pursue the purity of musicianship, Romain engages a Vietnamese piano virtuoso Miao Lin (Linh Dan Pham) to aid him in his preparation. Yet outstanding threat from a Russian gangster, Minskov (Anton Yakovlev), continues to haunt Romain as his divided paths slowly begin to converge.

Crafted by renowned French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) as a remake of James Toback’s 1978 American film Fingers, The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a dynamic and often ferocious affair, highlighted by Duris’ strikingly earnest performance as a young man torn inextricably between worlds. Major credit to Audiard as well, whose films so often balance virtue and barbarity, in creating such a profound depiction of youthful vulnerability and the pursuit of meaningfulness and personal significance.


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