Monday, 15 August 2011

REVIEW: The Beautiful Lies (Les Vrais Mensonges)

Dir.: Pierre Salvadori
With: Audrey Tautou, Sami Bouajila, Nathalie Baye

French romantic comedies manage to retain the same inconspicuous charm that old Hollywood films like “Roman Holiday” used to have. There is something so na├»ve and lovely about French romantic stories, even the ones set in modern times. This film sees Pierre Salvadori re-united with Audrey Tautou after their successful collaboration on “Priceless” (Hors de Prix). Generally, Tautou plays ephemeral, sweet characters, but Salvadori somehow always sees her as a manipulative and harsh ‘salope’. Here, instead of a golddigger, she plays Emilie, owner of a hairdressing salon, someone who does not believe in the trifles of love and has more important things on her mind, which don’t stop her from meddling in other people’s affairs.

The set-up is quite simple, Jean, played by Sami Bouajila, is a highly educated, sensitive and shy admirer of Emilie’s; he builds up the courage to send her an anonymous love letter. At first she doesn’t give it too much thought, she then decides to send it onto her mother, who is going through a midlife crisis of her own. The letter does wonders to the woman’s well being, however chaos and more misunderstandings ensue.

I was smiling throughout the whole film, it is not too sickly sweet, there are some dark undertones, especially once you see how unpleasant and cold Emilie can really be. Audrey Tautou looked effortlessly chic in her unassuming attire and the beautiful Mediterranean landscape was a pleasure to take in. However, it is the mother, played by Nathalie Baye whom I fell in love with. Her character was absolutely marvellous – she starts off as a mentally unstable, depressive psycho and gradually blossoms into the most seductive older woman one can imagine.

I would highly recommend this film purely for its nonchalant French allure.

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