DVD review: Populaire (12A)

Régis Roinsard (111 mins)

The publicity for Populaire sold it as “Mad Men meets The Artist”, and you can see where it’s coming from. Brylcreem, sharp suits, and cigarettes by the truckload? Check. But it would be just as appropriate to compare Populaire to every film ever made about somebody competing - from The Karate Kid to Pitch Perfect.

The person competing is Déborah François, the pretty but clumsy new secretary in a small Normandy insurance office. Her eligible boss, Romain Duris, immediately notices that she’s a demon at the typewriter - this is 1958 - and so he signs her up for a speed-typing tournament. Cue the training montages and, well, I’m not giving too much away when I say that François makes it to the finals and that she and her boss have a more-than-professional relationship.

Populaire is as sweet, frothy, and pastel-coloured as a milkshake. But it isn't clear why the story is worth telling - not something anyone ever said about Mad Men or The Artist.