It begins during his childhood in Nazi-occupied France (he was the child of Russian Jews and was eventually forced into hiding to escape The Holocaust) and follows him throughout his life, including his affairs with some of the most beautiful actresses and singers of his time that became his muses.
The film is scant on specific details, so those unfamiliar with the man's work may be a little lost at times.
- Big Entrance: How Brigitte Bardot is introduced - her walking down a shadowy hall in a hip-swaying strut, the camera panning along her body and an instrumental of "Initials BB" playing all the while.
- Feet-First Introduction: The first thing we see of Brigitte Bardot is her legs, as she walks down the hall to Serge's apartment.
- Freudian Trio: Serge's three main affairs fit this.
- Juliette Gréco is mysterious, spiritual and distant - the Superego.
- Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta) is fun-loving and the most sex-driven of the three - the Id.
- Jane Birkin is the one most emotionally attuned to Serge and is more down-to-earth than the other two - the Ego.
- The Ingenue: France Gall as a part of her public image. She is also completely impervious to the sexual innuendoes of the song proposed by Gainsbourg.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Used during the Greco segment to contrast the sensual Juliette Greco vs. Gainsbourg's jealous wife. Bonus point for wearing respectively black and white.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Brigitte Bardot has a bedsheet wrapped around her waist as she sleeps on Gainsbourg's bed, with her Toplessness from the Back to the camera. Another scene begins in the same way, but has her wrapping the sheet around her and getting up to playfully dance around the room while Gainsbourg plays the piano, all while still holding on to the bedsheet.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Most trailers milk the fact that Brigitte Bardot is a character, even though her screen time probably doesn't reach ten minutes and her segment is relatively self-contained. They also ignore the fantasy elements of the film.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: La Gueule's presence is never acknowledged by anyone other than Serge, but it still does things like dancing with Greco, setting fire to Serge's atelier and negotiating with France Gall's father.
- Sizable Semitic Nose: Along with other Nazi antisemitic stereotypes, there's the animated "Jewish" head with a big nose at the beginning of the movie.
- Supermodel Strut: Brigitte Bardot's first scene has her moving towards Serge while strutting down a hallway wish a deliberate and confident sashay to her step.