Thorns of a dilemma
The Valentine's Day romance "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" featuring lovable "Amelie" star Audrey Tautou is not all it seems in ways both clever and clichˇd.
By JOSHUA TANZER
People do it all the time, but one of the least reliable ways to pick a movie is by who's acting in it. Just because your favorite actor's name is at the top of the poster, you can't just assume you know what the movie is going to be like. Unless, of course, your favorite actor is Meg Ryan.
That's how it is with "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not," a French romance, of sorts, starring adorable "Amˇlie" pixie Audrey Tautou. You may very well walk into the theater expecting this movie to be another perky, offbeat romantic comedy but don't think writer-director Laetitia Colombani isn't a step ahead of you.
|HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT|
|Original title: A la folie, pas du tout.|
Written and directed by: Laetitia Colombani.
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Samuel le Bihan, Clement Sibony, Isabelle Carrˇ.
In French with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
The movie begins with a sea of perfect roses in a Bordeaux florist shop, from which rise, like Venus from the surf, Tautou's impish Amˇlie eyes, enigmatic Mona Lisa smile and obvious Audrey Hepburn bob. Showers of red and lavender flowers and sparkly valentine hearts emphasize the romantic mood until your stomach is turning like you've just eaten a whole heart-shaped box of chocolates in five minutes. It's way too much.
But life, at least in this movie, is very much like a heart-shaped box of chocolates you never know what you're going to get. Tautou's character, an artist named Angˇlique, has fallen hard for a handsome doctor named Lo•c, and she's sending him a single romantic rose, which she'll follow up with one of her own paintings. Her romantic gestures are endearing indeed until there appears a warning sign it turns out Lo•c is married.
|The film turns into a genre picture of another kind, and I'm not even going to say which genre because there's a certain amount of surprise involved. But there are a lot of elements in "He Loves Me" that you probably will feel you've seen before.|| |
No matter, insists Angˇlique to her best male friend, David. Her heartthrob is going to leave his wife shortly.
"Look! We're going to Florence! He suggested it to me this morning," she squeals.
"Listen," the jealous David warns her, "don't believe every tale he tells you."
"But if I don't believe in him, what will I believe in?" she asks.
"Me," David answers.
Poor David doesn't compare with the dashing doctor, however, and Angelique's heartsickness will only grow worse as the story plays out.
If, after the saccharine setup with the familiar cutie-pie actress, you thought you were seeing "Amelie 2," you're going to get something you didn't figure on, for better and for worse. Eventually the romantic comedy lapses into a genre picture of another kind, and I'm not even going to say which genre because there's a certain amount of surprise involved. But there are a lot of elements in "He Loves Me" that you probably will feel you've seen before.
Still, the film's little mind game is interesting enough that you might come away satisfied. You probably will not feel that you've seen an "Audrey Tautou movie," but then there's really no such thing, is there?
|FEBRUARY 14, 2003|
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Reader comments on He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not:
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