Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just a little over the top

Delicacy, the new French film by David & Stephane Foenkinos, is one of the sillier films I’ve seen of late. Audrey Tautou (Amélie 2001, The Da Vinci Code and Priceless 2006, and Coco Before Chanel 2009) was one of the draws, simply because she's such a big name who adds a kind of offbeat charm to the movies she's in. But that's hardly the reason I wanted to see it. What interested me more was that the film seemed to have an interesting take on relationships. The pixieish Tautou – many find her irresistibly beautiful and the embodiment of contemporary French feminine charm – has been not much more than adequate in films since her startingly whimsical debut in Amélie. In Delicacy Tautou plays Nathalie, happily in love with her husband  François (Pio Marmaï) until tragedy strikes one day and he dies while out jogging.  His death affects her deeply and she buries herself in her work. The film is fine up to this point, at least in terms of it's story. Then things start to get a bit weird. When an office colleague Markus (François Damiens) visits her to give a report she spontaneously gets up from her desk and kisses him. The guy doesn't know what hit him but is utterly convinced this beautiful woman is attracted to him. But when next he encounters her Nathalie doesn’t remember the event at all, apologises, and says he should forget it. Markus is devastated. But as the film (based on the novel by David Foenkinos and this is his directorial debut with brother Stephane) moves along the relationship takes on increasingly bizarre turns. Markus’s humour and offbeat handsomeness actually begin to appeal to Nathalie. Now she's the one truly interested. But just as she tries to get closer to Markus he starts to back away. Self-protectiveness and all that. Okay, uhat's understandable enough. But his behaviour starts becoming off the wall and just doesn't seem believable. This marred whatever more realistic storyline the movie could have had. I’m sure those who liked the film probably found this quality in Markus the real endearing thing about it. In that case, I say, God bless 'ya.

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