Romance in films is often about chance situations. Chance meetings are top of the list. You walk into a handsome guy while walking down the street daydreaming. Taking the bus to work you sit beside a cute girl who has just found out her boyfriend is cheating on her. You own a bookstore which is part of a large chain and you are the owner of a small local bookstore and you hate each other but end up falling in love over the internet….who doesn’t love You Got Mail? Anyways, you get the picture. Though this device is used time and time again we love it. Almost as much as we like romantic films. When well done, of course.
Here it happens over and over. People meet others in unexpected ways and then fall in love or into a relationship. Some work out while others don’t. But they all intermingle. Or are described by Maxime (Niels Schneider – I Killed My Mother, Les Amours Imaginaires) or Daphne (Camélia Jordana – Nous Trois ou Rien, Soeurs D’Armes), who is three months pregnant as they wait at a rural property for her boyfriend and Maxime’s cousin, François (Vincent Macaigne – Tonnerre, C’est la Vie!). I don’t really have to go on do I? You can see what is coming, right?
This is all about dialogue. People talk then they talk and they it is finished off by them talking. Now this wouldn’t be as dull as dishwater if the couples involved had any level of chemistry. Which they don’t. The thing is that no matter the level of the dialogue if there is no va va voom between the characters then I want to va va voom out of the room.
Romance is not solely about language (though conversation does play an important part). It is the sparks between the two we are watching fall in love. That is something that the French should well be aware of. But within director and screenwriter Emmanuel Mouret’s (Un Autre Vie, Changement D’Adresse) film il y a zippo entre Maxime and Daphne. That is despite all the great accoutrements like nice scenery, great apartments, nice close, etc. So, in the end I did not care and resented the just over two hours I spend watching.