Definitely one of the sweetest French romantic comedies of 2010.
A light, fluffy confection that plucks all the right emotional chords, Les Émotifs anonymes
kind of film you can watch between Hollywood blockbusters without
ruining your appetite. Himself a victim of chronic shyness,
director Jean-Pierre Améris deals sensitively and humorously
with a condition that is more widespread than you might think, and uses
it to provide the basis for a feel-good rom-com of exceptional
charm. As in C'est la vie
light-hearted comedy-drama about terminal illness, Améris takes
a potentially difficult subject and delivers an engaging film that is
both true to life and irresistibly amusing, with a whiff of the
old-fashioned fairytale about it.
Benoît Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carré are supremely well
cast as the film's two emotionally challenged lead protagonists - both
have a natural air of Dresden china fragility which compels the
spectator to sympathise with rather than sneer at their protagonists'
crippling condition. (Neither character can say so much as a
stifled 'hello' without breaking into a cold sweat and looking like
someone about to face a firing squad.) Poelvoorde and
Carré had previously appeared together in an altogether
different kind of romantic set-up, Anne Fontaine's unsettling thriller Entre ses mains
(2005), and as
on that film they complement one another perfectly, devastatingly
convincing as solitary souls drawn to one another by the unspoken
mysteries of love and a shared guilty pleasure.
Visually, Les Émotifs anonymes
looks disturbingly like the interior of a Belgian chocolate shop from
the 1950s - too pretty to be real and yet strangely alluring in a way
that is both heart-warming and ever so slightly sinister. The
cutely kitsch design certainly matches the film's sugary subject matter
but it also emphasises the main characters' distorted view of the world
and their obsession with that most seductively sensual of confectionary
products. For Jean-René and Angélique, chocolate is
far more than an appetite quencher, it is a magical elixir which
provides comfort and allows them to cope with their emotional
handicap. So why should they not see the world through
cocoa-tinted glasses? It is true that a surfeit of sugary
confectionary can sometimes make you violently sick, but this is
definitely not the case here. Les
is a cinema gourmet's delight, a tender,
idiosyncratic little comedy that is tastier than a fondant fancy, more
delicate than a Cadbury's Flake, and infinitely better for your
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Angélique has a passion and an instinct for the art of chocolate
making that is virtually unrivalled...