Monday, May 16, 2005

Movie Review: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

France, 2002
U.S. Release Date: 2/14/03 (limited)
Running Time: 1:32
Rated: PG-13 (Mature themes)
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabelle Carré, Clément Sibony, Sophie Guillermin, Eric Savin

Director: Laetitia Colombani
Producer: Charles Gassot
Screenplay: Laetitia Colombani, Caroline Thivel
Music: Jérôme Coullet
Studio: The Samuel Goldwyn Company
In French with subtitles

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WARNING: This review contains minor plot spoilers. If you would like to be surprised at every aspect of the film, do not read on!!

Imagine a young girl with long golden hair in a blue sun-dress lying on the plush green grass of an open field. What is she doing? Most likely, she is daydreaming about a boy and pealing off the petals of nearby flowers. As she plucks off these petals, she recites, “He loves me, he loves me not,” over and over again—until the former is the end result.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À la Folie... pas du tout) is an ingenious look at two opposing interpretations of love. The film is comprised of the final two petals and plays out exactly as the title reads. It reminds us all that nothing is ever what it initially seems, and it juggles romance, drama, and suspense like no other film.

Angélique (Audrey Tautou) is an art student/waitress who is in love with a cardiologist named Loïc (Samuel le Bihan). Loïc is married to a lawyer named Rachel (Isabelle Carré), who is five months pregnant with his child. However, even though Loïc’s marriage vows are still intact, Angelique believes that the affair can work. In the midst, Angelique’s friend David (Clément Sibony) tries to warn Angélique that Loïc may hurt her feelings.

In terms of star value, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not possesses the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Tautou—fresh off of her dainty role in Amelie. This transition works wonders, because for anyone who saw Amelie, you expect nothing but subtlety and charm from the beautiful brunette. However, with He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, just when you think this likeable lead is up to the same old tricks, you find that this time around, both sides – the vivacious and the vicious –are visible.

For fans of Tautou: this is her most elaborate and transfixing production. Her obsession here just about eclipses Glenn Close’s erotomania seen in Fatal Attraction. Likewise, the use of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E” is a superlative song choice for this romantic thriller. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not makes all the right moves in all the right places. Even if it flings us right back to the beginning of the story, the film stays stimulating, full of risk, and above all masterful.

So, don’t be afraid to stroll down the foreign film aisle of your local movie rental store and pick up He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. It will surely be a picture that you will not regret watching. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not blends both a sweet romance and a superb suspense, and in all honesty, it is the best of both worlds. (**** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005