Opening 16 Aug 2007
Writing credits: Claude Berri, Anna Gavalda
Principal actors: Audrey Tautou, Guillaume Canet, Laurent Stocker, Françoise Bertin, Alain Sachs
Aristocratic Philibert (Laurent Stocker) is a polite, well-mannered and always helpful young man but with more than one tick and a heavy stutter. When his neighbour Camille (Audrey Tautou) becomes ill, he takes her under his wing, literally carrying her down from the unheated room under the roof to his luxurious 300-square-meter apartment. He already gave shelter to the homeless gourmet cook Franck (Guillaume Canet), a boisterous macho who does not fancy sharing their comfortable set-up with an undernourished, pale, sick female. Franck enjoys his noisy music and voluptuous girls for entertainment. The only person he really seems to love and care about is his grandmother Paulette (Francoise Bertin), living in an old age home after a bad fall. The three people could not be different: Philibert, the meticulously dressed would-be historian; Franck, the stressed and overworked cook; Camille, the talented artist, working as a cleaning lady.
It takes some effort for the three to come to terms with each other and with their own little quirks and insecurities. Only grandma Paulette is grumpy, unhappy and complaining until Camille decides to take care of her – and she too comes on board. By accepting and helping each other they find loving companionship and in the end dare to hold on to happiness.
The development of the characters may be predictable and the end not a big surprise, but Claude Berri directs his film with an unpretentious, refreshing humour. He also wrote the script based on the bestseller by Anna Gavalda. The result is nearly 100 minutes of pure entertainment with wonderfully light-hearted acting, fun music and sharp dialogues. Audrey Tautou (Amelie) fascinates with her expressive face, but also with convincing acting, supported by a perfectly cast team. Sit back and enjoy this very French comedy. (Birgit Schrumpf)