"Romance" is the kind of French movie that can turn people off from French cinema altogether.

Not just the subtitle-averse, mind you, but anyone who isn't an arthouse snob, anyone who doesn't like foreign films simply because they suggest a sophistication American movies don't.

A dark character study of a beautiful, insecure young woman named Marie (Caroline Ducey) whose self-respect is shattered when her boyfriend loses interest in sex, the core idea here is a intriguing one -- the deep exploration of the natural feminine need to feel desired, gone very wrong. But "Romance" serves its anguish without optimism, making it almost impossible to get behind its hopeless heroine.

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