If you’re unfamiliar with the life of iconic, genre-bridging French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, well, you’ll probably learn more from Wikipedia than from this. Lucien Ginsburg (as he was), an artistic, precocious Jewish kid in Nazi-occupied Paris, considered himself ugly, but didn’t take too long to discover that, in France, ugliness is a positive asset for a sex symbol (look at Gad Elmaleh and Gérard Depardieu, if you must). Before you know it, he’s shagging Brigitte Bardot and recording the musical orgasm “Je t’aime… moi non plus” with Jane Birkin. And smoking and drinking. Lots.
Writer/director Joann Sfar tries to get inside Gainsbourg’s head rather than cover the facts of his life; he doesn’t entirely succeed and doesn’t offer a satisfying resolution, but it’s remarkably engaging and might turn you on to Gainsbourg’s music. (This is also, sadly, the last film of the absolutely gorgeous Lucy Gordon, playing Birkin. Gordon killed herself last year.) 7/10