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18 Apr 2012


Quirky romcom bets long on Audrey Tatou's middle-aged charm.

Original Title: La Délicatesse

Directors: David Foenkinos, Stéphane Foenkinos

Language: French

Screeplay: David Foenkinos; adapted from a novel by David Foenkinos

Cast: Audrey Tatou, Francoise Damiens, Bruno Todechini, Pio Marmai

A young woman is swept off her feet by a charmingly fun man and together, they face the unromantic aspects of early married life unflinchingly with the level of cuteness that one imagines can only exist in romcoms and comic strips. He dies in a freak accident. She spends the next decade mooning over the loss while being chased by her boss, whose overtures may have been considered charming in the 1950s. We laugh because despite being an office nightmare in real life, Audrey Tatou still manages to put down the boss while making him feel his chase and her put-down are both charming and fun. Finally, the hot dame falls for a plain, self-deprecating bear (think Paul Giamatti but nerdier) whose nice guy routine is so cloying and sincere that it cuts through her unsentimental follow-up.

The style of comedy is ironic, relying on the clash between naively sentimental characters and overly cynical characters, and the incongruity between the script's focus on realistic little details of life and the sentimental devices employed liberally in the direction. Paired with this interesting and refreshing brand of comedy is quirky camerawork and editing that relies heavily on the camera capturing Audrey Tatou-s smolderingly hot middle-age charm.

There are some high concept novels that ought to be adapted to screen even though the adaptation is likely to disappoint. As some courageous directors (and publishers) would say – it's their honour to lose money to aid in the production of someone else's work of art. David Foenkinos here sidesteps the problem by directing the film adaptation of his own novel.

Yet being unacquainted to the medium. language, and logic of film does pose a problem: the adaptation doesn't make for a great film experience despite having an interesting story. Under Foenkino's conventional direction, Delicacy comes across as a cutesey quirky meandering romantic comedy when it could easily have been a brilliant homage to Michelangeo Antonioni, a subversive anti-romcom in the style of his anti-films, and a commentary on women as the objects of romance.

Reader's Comments

1. 2012-04-22 21:52  
Don't you just love film reviews that tell you the whole story?

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