Feelings on the verge of madness, love on the verge of hate, reality on the verge of surrealism. That’s exactly what it is, French love in the film Love Me If You Dare (French: Jeux d’enfants, lit. Children’s games) by Yann Samuell. In 2003, the picture blew up the screens, causing a stormy and ambiguous reaction from the public. The feelings of the audience were also on the edge: someone went crazy with delight, and someone fell into despair from the ending of the film. But not a single person remained indifferent.
The film tells the story of Julien Dante and Sophie Kowalski.
Their acquaintance began near the school bus, where the children mocked the Polish girl Sophie. He was filled with sympathy and decided to support her by giving her a multi-colored metal box. The little thing was very dear to him as a reminder of his dead mother. Therefore, the boy asked to periodically share the gift with him so that he, too, could play. This request turned out to be fatal for both of them and became the beginning of madness. Sophie was offended and delivered an ultimatum: “Can you get it when you prove it in practice or weakly?” Since this all started.
The box wandered from hand to hand, and the tasks became more difficult and intimidating. Every year the game gained momentum, and the characters completely immersed themselves in it, losing touch with reality. What was the cost of Julien’s upset wedding and Sophie’s miraculous rescue on the railroad. After all, she could die, and Julien was not going to save her.
Explanation of the ending Love Me If You Dare
In their madness, they hid the plea for love, the fear of taking the first step and being rejected, the pain of being forbidden to be together. Therefore, they inflicted more and more blows on each other, receiving perverse pleasure from this. With no other option, they chose a crazy and frightening way of expressing their forbidden feelings with its sophisticated cruelty.
And then the most terrible “weak” followed – a 10-year gap. Although during this time the heroes built their families and established a life, their connection did not break. They found each other and met again, this time forever.
The film’s ending left a refined French aftertaste with notes of ambiguity. How did the story actually end: a romantic death under the thickness of concrete or a happy old age together? The controversy continues to this day.
To understand the end of the story, you need to look at the film from a different point of view. On the part of child and adult cruelty, personal tragedies, constant prohibitions, social inequality (“dirty polka”) and pressure on the characters. Children’s psyche is too weak and unstable to cope with adult problems. Therefore, I found a kind of way out of the situation – the game is “weak”. And then, over time, it turned into an obsession.
This game was the only possible option for their relationship: they were not friends, so as not to violate the ban, and at the same time became inseparable. Even years later, having matured, they could not overcome the installation: they cannot be together. It is so deeply rooted in the psyche of the characters that they could not imagine another reality.
Too much has been done and said, both have families behind them and the resulting obligations. But the desire to possess each other was stronger. And the extraordinary decision of the heroes was just in their style.
The last “weak” is the last task and the end of the game. The only time they both participated in the task, and the box was shared. Their happy and crazy ending. To die in each other’s arms, enjoying every moment. To be buried and immortalized in the thickness of concrete, as a symbol of victory over circumstances. And rebellion – so that even after death they could not be separated.
Yes, they met a happy old age together. But in his own world, and not in this cruel reality. And the lone box at the construction site hints that the story is not over. Because true love never dies.