This sub-titled French film is based on a novel written by David Foenkinos, who co-directed the movie with his brother, Stephane. It is a comedy-drama movie of an unlikely love affair between, Nathalie (Audrey Tautou), an office executive, and Markus (Francois Damiens), a Swedish co-worker.
The film is basically in three parts. The first, is where tragedy strikes; the second, is where romance blossoms; and the third, is where romance matures.
Tragedy strikes, when Nathalie’s handsome husband, Francois (Pio Marmai), who is wedded deliriously happily to her is killed tragically in an auto-accident. Grief at the loss turns Nathalie into a workaholic, which earns her an office promotion.
She is the object of desire for many men who work with her, including her sexist boss, Charles (Bruno Todeschini). One day at work, she plants a passionate kiss impetuously on the mild-mannered Markus, and her kiss (which she can’t even remember), begins the blossoming of romance.
Nathalie’s kiss gives Markus the first sign of hope. From tragedy to romance, a relationship develops slowly between them, and maturity grows as Nathalie learns to love again with a person, “who just allows” her to do what she feels. Far from being classically good-looking, Markus is a balding, toothy, lovable human being, who is the person whose ordinariness helps her move away from the sadness that is enveloping her.
The film never explains why Nathalie kisses Markus in the first place, but there is gentle comedy in the beguiling attraction between two very opposite people. No one thinks Markus is a romantic figure, and Nathalie is a figure whose tragic past seems “impossible to shift”.
Audrey Tautou brings her usual style of coquettish aloofness and pixiness to the role of Nathalie, and Francois Damiens is terrific as the clumsy man she falls in love with. It is hard to be in a movie and not be upstaged by Audrey Tautou, but Damiens manages to do just that, and he takes over the film.
Tautou’s beauty becomes almost a foil to his goodness, and the film develops a delicate relationship between the two of them that is very tender and sweet - Peter Sheehan, Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Francois Damiens, Pio Marmai, and Bruno Todeschini, Directed by David Foenkinos, and Stephane Foenkinos. Rated M (Coarse language). 105 min.