Starring: Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Bruno Todeschini
Adapted from his own bestselling novel by David Foenikos, this French romantic comedy essays a tricky melange of levity and heartache.
Audrey Tautou plays Nathalie, a young woman who, tragically widowed, buries her grief in her office work. Friends encourage her to go out again, but it's an absent-minded moment that sneaks romance into her life: she kisses an unassuming Swedish co-worker, Markus (François Damiens), full on the mouth. The slightly odd courtship that begins wouldn't attract much notice were it not for a mismatch in looks: Markus is a lumbering, balding beardie in a sad jumper, while Nathalie is, well, Tautou. Her boss, a slick ladies' man, doesn't get it, and even takes Markus out for drinks in an effort to understand his baffling allure.
It's a bit of a curate's egg. The mismatch is a trump card for audiences sick of beautiful pairings, and Damiens plays the unlikely romantic very winningly. On the downside, Tautou, for all her gorgeousness, is a tiresome, pouty presence: "Actresses are such a drag," she says, more accurately than she knows. It's also not clear if Nathalie's hesitation is to do with fear of commitment or a nagging worry that with Markus she's dipped into the lower divisions when she ought to have stayed Premiership.
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