Romantics Anonymous is a bittersweet tale of true love between two pathologically shy chocolate makers. I was pleasantly surprised by the genuine affection and charming humor displayed from the quirky characters throughout the film. Award winning director Jean-Pierre Améris plays with terrifying emotions, misfits and good old-fashioned romance to create this perky retake on everlasting love.
Angélique, a saucy-eyed beauty with a halo of curls, is a gifted chocolatier who is so meek that the merest compliment makes her faint. To build up her confidence she regularly attends 12-step meetings for people who struggle with anxiety disorders. Her male counterpart, Jean-René, is the middle-aged owner of a chocolate shop drowning in debt. Jean-René is afraid to answer his telephone, listens to encouraging tapes at night and regularly visits a therapist. The desirous pair meets when he hires Angélique as a sales representative. The pair embark on a series of failed dates, misread signals and anxiety attacks.
The acting quality is superb. Isabelle Carré is perfect as the wide-eyed Angélique, determined to overcome her insecurities. Benoît Poelvoorde is a refreshing twist on prince charming, a creative character who reveals his charming flaws throughout the film.
The cinematography by Gérard Simon has the palette of a chocolate box; it’s a combination of dark hues and silver highlights that make the real-world location of hotels, factories and streets look like a studio fantasy – rich and beautiful. The films upbeat sense of potential seems earned and its style, seductive.
Romantics Anonymous is an artistic romance with outstanding production, creative cinematography and brilliant actors. Romance blossoms in an unusual way and the unique humour is ironically amusing. If you embrace Romantics Anonymous for what it is, you are sure to enjoy the film, particularly if you admire French romantic comedies.
So over the next few weeks I’ve decided to review a few of my favourite French films. French films are always unpredictable, unlike Hollywood films you have no idea who’s going to fall in love with whom and when all seems happy there might be a sudden death! I’ve decided to start with Amelie, the greatest film I have ever seen.
The utterly charming French romantic comedy recreates love and compassion through one young woman who’s destined to mend the lives of people around her. Jean-Pierre Jeunet produces Amelie with genuine pleasure; a film bursting with clever wit and irresistible visuals.
Amelie Poulain had an eccentric childhood, as we learn through flashback, raised by two equally eccentric parents who overprotected her and misdiagnosed her of a rare heart disease. As a result she was home schooled and spent most of her time alone, evolving an active imagination. Amelie now works as a waitress in Paris and indulges in the lives of her friends. When she meets a distinctively unique man by the name of Nino she instantly falls in love and the rest of the film follows her unique journey through love, the rediscovery of self and the search for true happiness.
Audrey Tautou is a flawless, doll-faced woman whose expressions and feelings slowly appear as the film continues. It’s a wonderfully coarse performance for which Tautou appears to originate for. Strengthened by a strong supporting cast of remarkable French actors, including actor Mathieu Kassovitz as Amelie’s mysterious lover, comedian Jamel Debbouze as delightful Lucien and Raymond Dufayel as her fragile neighbour, Audrey is constantly in the limelight.
Theoretically, the film is excellent. Jeunet operates inventive techniques to allow Amelie’s world to come to life. Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography is an appealing illustration of yellows, greens and browns gathered into a beautiful and even dreamlike world. The compositions that escort the scenes are immaculate and remarkably suit all scenes exceptionally well.
Amelie is a heartwarming romance matched by an enchanting atmosphere of whimsy and burning emotions that together create a modern fairy tale. What’s amazing is the way the love story loans some desirable heart and soul to all the visual traces. Here is a rare film that will draw you in through the powerful act of compassion and joy.