À nos amours is a powerful, uncomfortable film that is reminiscent of the work of American director John Cassavetes. It presents an invasive view of a family torn apart when the father, played by director Maurice Pialat, leaves the home. His departure coincides with the sexual awakening of his fifteen-year-old daughter Suzanne. She temporarily escapes the madness of home through affairs, unaware that her actions are fueling the discontent.
The film opens with Suzanne, a beautiful young girl away at summer camp, rehearsing her lines for a play about love. A young man is eager to take her out on a boat ride. When we learn that he is her brother, what was witnessed in the previous scene becomes questioned, which is what Pialat wants the viewer to do with every relationship presented.
Suzanne sneaks away to visit with her boyfriend Luc. He wants to have sex with her, but she stops him, leaving him disappointed and suspicious that she no longer wants to be with him. She assures him things are fine between them. Later, she goes to a dance and meets an American boy. She gives him her virginity, but is upset when he ignores her the next time he sees her.
Back home, Suzanne and her friends spend a lot of time missing school. One night she announces she is going out with friends, but her father suspects something, so he forbids it. She argues with him, so he strikes her across the face, but she goes out anyway. When she returns late, her father is still awake. Instead of the angry parent, they have a conversation as adults. For the first time they are aware of each other as sexual beings, and their relationship is forever changed.
The father leaves the family and while it’s never stated, there is some question as to whether the change in Suzanne brought on his departure. The mother is an emotional wreck, lashing out at Suzanne violently for coming and going as she pleases. Suzanne is a double reminder of the mother’s lost youth. She scolds Suzanne for sleeping naked and complains that she never should have had children. The brother tries to step up and be a man of the family. He also gets physical with Suzanne. He decries her for being a slut, yet when she asks if he’s jealous, the only response is an awkward silence.