by M. Faust
I regret having used the word “piffle” last week to describe (in a nice way) Madonna’s W.E., not because it was inappropriate but because I wish I’d saved it for this week. It’s not a word to be overused, and it is absolutely le mot juste for Delicacy, a French romance starring Audrey Tatou.
The film starts with a classic meet-cute in which Tatou’s Nathalie is silently worshipped at a café by Francois (played by Pio Marmaï, one of those French actors who perpetually appears to have just rolled out of bed after sleeping off a three-day bender). Things go along so well for the first reel that you suspect an oncoming tragedy, and you are not disappointed.
Three years later Nathalie has insulated herself from the world by throwing herself into her work. We don’t know just what it is that she does, but she does it well enough to have risen in the business ranks. Love inevitably finds her again, as the result of a caprice that can be explained only as a script shortcut into the film’s second act.
Since starring in the international hit Amelie, Tatou has aged but not really changed much. (Such is the style of French actresses: How different is Catherine Deneuve these days than she was in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg?) She may have had more dramatically demanding roles in the ensuing decade, but if so they haven’t been seen on these shores, and Delicacy is aimed squarely at the ranks of fans who find her the preeminent cinema gamine since the heyday of Audrey Hepburn. Based on a novel by David Foenkinos, who co-directed this with his brother Stéphane (the casting director of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris), Delicacy has just enough whimsy to soothe Amelie aficianados, with a soupcon of melodrama to make it seem more substantial than it is. You won’t remember it in a week, but that’s not to say you won’t enjoy looking at it for 100 minutes if you’re a fan of Ms. Tatou or of mildly quirky romances.
Watch the trailer for Delicacy
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v11n15 (Week of Thursday, April 12) > Film Reviews > Delicacy
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