Audrey Tautou’s latest vehicle, DELICACY, has the power to make you feel good about feel-good movies. This is French rom-com with a solid, or should that be melting, heart.
Tautou is terrific as the brittle and emotionally devastated Nathalie who comes to terms with the loss of the newly found love of her life by throwing herself into her office work. Her workplace is owned by the Swedes and is a drab, Norwegian wood affair (some good anti-Nordic jokes here inevitably taking in Abba, IKEA and rye crisp breads).
What marks out this happy movie (written by David Foekinos which he co-directs with Stephane Foekinos) is a masterly handling of pace and narrative. There is a strong story line here which is presented with a variety of moods and pace. There are energetic scenes of gentle comedy or driven angst interspersed with moments of delicious stillness where the camera lingers, the soundtrack vanishes and the action slows to a halt as Nathalie faces some new dilemma. This is bold and confident movie making which suits the mood music of this charming bittersweet confection.
What marks out this happy movie is a masterly handling of pace and narrative.
Good though Tautou is, François Damiens as the gauche, clumsy and not overly attractive Markus steals the limelight. His taciturn honesty, quiet dry wit and goodness of heart are what the grieving Nathalie needs and he finds himself falling into her orbit. Thus begins a most unlikely and hilariously hesitant love affair. Love and affection, says the film, comes in all shapes and sizes, true love (as we know) rarely runs smooth and outcomes in life are not always as you predict.
DELICACY is very much an all-round movie: great soundtrack with mournful French chanson riffing over an insistent gamelan rhythm, sharp editing and some wonderful ensemble performances from the office gossips, a lascivious married boss and the best friend who isn’t always there for you. It is a rich mixture, funny and tender by turns, sharp, acerbic and poetic when it needs to be. A delicacy indeed to make you feel that feeling good is OK.
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