It's impossible not to be charmed by this cheeky French comedy, even if it's utterly predictable and never remotely breaks its gorgeously designed surfaces. But it's packed with moments of riotous comedy and surprising drama that keep us on our toes, almost making us forget that we're watching a foreign movie about a typing competition. It also has a secret weapon in Romain Duris, an unconventional romantic lead who's irresistibly appealing.
The period is the late 1950s, when life for a young woman in a tiny village didn't offer many options. After years working for her shop-owner father (Pierrot), Rose (Francois) finally breaks free, applying for a secretarial job in a nearby town. Despite having no experience, insurance broker Louis (Duris) sees a spark in her and gives her a shot. As they begin to flirt, Louis notices that Rose is eerily adept at typing with two fingers, and he enters her in a local competition, which she wins. As she rises through the national rankings, she begins to fall for him. But he's reluctant to let his guard down after the woman he has always loved, Marie (Bejo), married his best friend Bob (Benson).
Filmmaker Roinsard has a great eye for recreating the period, shooting scenes with the same attention to detail as an episode of Mad Men, but with a lot more sassy humour. He also lets his crew go wild with stylish hair and colourful costumes, plus a fantastic song score. In this post-War setting, the actors are able to catch us off guard with their attitudes to class, politics and most notably gender. Francois gives Rose a feisty determination that's wonderful to watch, because we root for her to break through a multitude of barriers. And opposite her Duris gives another prickly but likeable turn as a not always attractive man who clearly has real depth.
Continue reading: Populaire Review
The new movie could prove to be the latest French success on U.S. shores.
It probably won't take you long to work out that Populaire, the new vintage romantic-comedy from debut director Regis Roinsard, is financed by The Weinstein Company. It's got all the hallmarks for Harvey Weinstein's silent French Oscar winner The Artist, while playing on some of the popular themes from AMC's darling Mad Men. Oh, and there's a touch of Amelie in their good measure.
Whether the movie turns out to be the next Weinstein success story remains to be seen, though the trailer certainly hints at a fun filled couple of hours. Populaire follows the story of 21-year-old Rose Pamphyle (Deborah Francois) who escapes her predictable life in a picturesque French village and travels to Lisieux in Normandy, where she meets charistmatic and handsome insurance agency boss Louis Echard (Romain Duris). Though her interview to be his secretary ends in disaster, Louis notices that Rose has a special talent for speed type and subsequently enters her in the national championship. Not your average Hollywood plotline, huh? Bolstered by a supporting cast that includes The Artist's Bérénice Bejo, Populaire appears immaculately styled and instantly likeable.
Rose Pamphyle is a 21-year-old French girl in the 1950s living in dread of the inevitable life of a housewife; invisible to the rest of the world and living in the shadow of her fiancé, a local mechanic. Desperate to pave a more fulfilling path in life, she seeks out a job as a secretary and lands an interview with the head of an insurance company who happens to be the handsome and magnetic Louis Echard. Unfortunately, she makes a terrible mess of the interview and proves to be unfit for the important role. However, Echard is taken aback when he witnesses Rose's fingers flying across a typewriter at an incredible speed and decides to offer her a job - at a price. She has ignited a sporting passion in him and he is determined that she compete in the Regional Championship of Touch Typing with personal training from him. Working so closely together, Echard finds him more and more captivated by Rose, but will his competitive streak form a wedge between them?
Continue: Populaire Trailer
Left on the steps of an isolated Spanish monastery as an infant, Ambrosio (Cassel) has grown up to be a celebrated priest, wowing the population of nearby Madrid with his radical sermons. But he's haunted by visions, as well as a dark secret kept by an oddly powerful woman (Francois). Meanwhile, young Antonia (Japy) is being wooed by the sexy Lorenzo (Noaille), a match her mother (Mouchet) approves but worries about. And no one has a clue that all of their fates are intertwined.
Continue reading: The Monk [Le Moine] Review
When he was a baby, Ambrosio was raised by Capucin monks in a Spanish monastery. He becomes a devout monk and, as an adult, his sermons are among the most popular in the country, if not the most popular. However, most of his fellow monks are jealous of Ambrosio's success.
Continue: The Monk Trailer
Axl (Tielve) is a 20-year-old from Spain in London to find his father (Lintern), who he can't remember at all. Actually, he can't remember much, and after each drunken night out he wakes up in a strange bed. Eventually he finds himself living in a squat with Hannah (Winter) and Mike (Goldberg). Another resident, Vera (Francois), has come to London to forget her ex (Brzezicki) and move on. She meets a charming guy who calls himself X-ray Man (Huisman), but she's reluctant to let him into her life.
Continue reading: Unmade Beds Review
In 1988, Robert and Marie-Jeanne (Gamblin and Breitman) are coming to terms with the fact that their eldest son Albert (Marmai) is moving into his own flat as middle son Raph (Grondin) turns 18. Over the years we also revisit them as rebellious daughter Fleur (Francois) turns 16 and follow relationships with various boys and girls as well as Robert's wine-loving father (Dumas). The family bond is strained and tested, including at least one ongoing feud, and yet there's an irresistible, indefinable connection, and a sense that they are discovering life together.
As a young butcher's daughter, Melanie had talent at the piano. Her father would stay up and listen to her play while saving up enough money to possibly send her off to an academy that deals in gifted pianists. Her audition gets sabotaged when one of the instructors, Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot), allows an autograph hound into the recital, breaking her concentration. She goes home, locks up her piano, and puts her little Mozart statue in the closet.
Continue reading: The Page Turner Review
The young mother in question is Sonia (Déborah François) and she finally finds her boyfriend, Bruno (Jérémie Renier) on a street, scheming to rob a man with two teenagers. Bruno sees the baby as a passing interest, something that makes Sonia happy so he is happy. Bruno is not smart and he resorts to crime often, but he is by no means a bad person; he sees most things in terms of how much he can get for them. Therefore, when he is left alone with Jimmy, his impulses lead him to sell the child on the black market. When he shows the wad of money to Sonia, she faints and calls the cops on her awakening. Bruno gets the child back, but not without owing money to some local hoods, which forces him into robbery again with his frequent partner, Steve (Jérémie Segard).
Continue reading: L'Enfant Review
Date of birth
24th May, 1987
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