DIR: Jean-Pierre Améris • WRI: Jean-Pierre Améris, Philippe Blasband • PRO: Nathalie Gastaldo, Philippe Godeau • DOP: Gérard Simon • ED: Philippe Bourgueil • DES: Sylvie Olivé • CAST: Benoît Poelvoorde, Isabelle Carré
Romantics Anonymous is a light, charming and heart-warming film. The story follows the lives of two neurotic people working in the chocolate business in France. Angelique (Isabelle Carré) and Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde) are hopeless romantics who are socially inept and fear hinders their potential happiness. The two characters are perfectly cast and capture the paralysing inadequacy felt by the pair which is demonstrated in hilarious moments throughout the film. It follows in the trend of light-hearted quirky French comedies like Amélie. There is a similar sweetness to the story and it appropriates the colourful, almost unreal quality. At times the sweetness can be a little hard to stomach, for example, in Angelique’s musical homage to Julie Andrew’s Maria. However, for the most part the film gets the balance right. It encourages compassion for the characters and we are rooting for them to get it together, and at the same time we are laughing out loud at their idiosyncrasies and the ridiculous situations they get themselves into.
Chocolate is the central motif in the film and this works well. It draws on the bittersweet nature of love rather than purporting it as a substitute for sex that drives chocolate advertising and plays on this in a funny moment when the two intimately describe the taste of the chocolates. The film may be too sickly sweet and light for some, but it is a refreshing change to Hollywood’s hackneyed take on similar themes in the romantic comedy genre. Overall, it makes for an entertaining and uplifting watch.
Soracha Pelan Ó Treasaigh
Romantics Anonymous is released on 16th December 2011