Uplifted beyond its merits by a thrilling performance from Marion Cotillard, this humdrum biopic of French songbird Edith Piaf obliges the legend rather than the woman. Writer-director Olivier Dahan, an unblushing fan, marches his revisionist biography dutifully from one event to the next — miraculously cured blindness, bad marriages, tumultuous affairs — while building a kind of Piaf theme park that operates like a bad parody of Dickens or Balzac. His movie skirts ticklish questions about whether France's beloved sparrow may have been a Nazi collaborator, preferring to stick with neurosis. Still, Cotillard, looking uncannily like the bug-eyed, jolie-laide
Piaf, takes the character deep, giving the chanteuse a ruined grandeur.