The troubled life of French songbird Edith Piaf, who died in 1963 at forty-eight, had enough drama to fill a dozen movies. Her upbringing in a brothel, followed by bruising encounters with sex, booze and drugs, created a voice that touched the world with hits such as "La Vie en Rose," "Milord" and "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." Somehow Olivier Dahan's impressionistic heartbreaker of a movie gets it all in. And Marion Cotillard, lip-syncing Piaf's songs and digging into her soul with gale-force urgency, gives a performance for the ages.
From The Archives Issue 295: July 12, 1979