Romantics Anonymous

"Excellent"

Romantics Anonymous Review


Almost criminally charming, this French romantic-comedy is very slight, but it's so enjoyable that we love every minute. And by centring on emotionally damaged people, it even has a few strongly resonant moments. Not to mention the chocolate craving it induces.

A member of a Romantics Anonymous group, Angelique (Carre) is crippled by her emotional reactions to other people, mainly men. So when she starts to fall for Jean-Rene (Poelvoorde), her new boss at a chocolate company, she doesn't know what to do. This is complicated by the fact that Jean-Rene is even more paralysed by fear than she is, and that she is secretly one of Paris' finest, most legendary chocolatiers. And Jean-Rene's company is in desperate need of something new to boost sales.

The film has a bouncy, comical tone from the start, letting us know that this isn't going to be a stressful ride for us as viewers even as the characters struggle with every encounter they have. The courtship between Angelique and Jean-Rene is both agonisingly awkward and warmly hilarious. Their first date, from Angelique's hiccoughs to Jean-Rene's sweat-drenched shirts, is beautifully played. And it gets better from there, even when a clever variation of the rom-com structure kicks in.

Carre and Poelvoorde give performances that are open-hearted and timed to perfection. The film threatens continually to tip over into silly farce or goofy slapstick, but it keeps its balance, making us care about these people as we feel their internal struggles and also each new discovery. The supporting characters are terrific as well: tiny roles that are integral to the plot and played with bright personality, most notably the four chocolate-makers played by Cravotta, Lametrie, Arlaud and Niney.

It's refreshing to see a small film that doesn't try to be anything more than a warm, witty romance between two normal people. A Hollywood remake would feel bloated and sappy where this is brisk and delicate. It would also be cast with beautiful, younger people who look like movie stars. And while this film is fairly simplistic, it's also an intriguing exploration of crippling emotional shyness that might inspire viewers who are reluctant to take the plunge.



Romantics Anonymous

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th November 2011

Distributed by: Tribecca Films

Production compaines: Pan Européenne Production, Studio Canal, France 3 Cinéma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jean-Pierre Ameris

Producer: Nathalie Gastaldo, Philippe Godeau

Starring: as Angélique, Lorella Cravotta as Magda, Lise Lamétrie as Suzanne, Swann Arlaud as Antoine, as Ludo, as Rémi, Grégoire Ludig as Julien, Céline Duhamel as Mimi, Philippe Fretun as Maxime, Alice Pol as Adèle, Philippe Gaulé as Philippe, Joëlle Sechaud as Joëlle, Isabelle Gruault as Isabelle, Claude Aufaure as Monsieur Mercier, as Le Président du jury, as Jean-René Van Den Hugde, Stéphan Wojtowicz as Le psychologue

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