Friday, 27 July 2012

Beautiful Lies

"I don't want to love someone else. Understand? I just want to be sad"

Known in some countries by the titles Full Treatment or De vrais mensonges, Beautiful Lies is a French romantic comedy starring Audrey Tautou. Emilie (Tautou) is the co-owner of a new Salon in the beautiful seaside town of Sète. She receives an anonymous love letter which is actually from the Salon maintenance man Jean (Sami Bouajila). Jean is head over heels in love with Emilie but besides the anonymous letter hasn’t let his feelings be known to anyone. Emilie briefly reads the letter but throws it away then meets her mother Maddy (Nathalie Baye). Maddy has lost her spark and is depressed about her failed marriage. Emilie decides that to cheer her mother up she will take the love letter from the bin, type it up and post it to her mother’s address. This brings Maddy back to life and she begins her quest to discover its sender. What follows is a series of confused misunderstandings as the man ends up caught in a love triangle with mother and daughter.

Beautiful Lies is a frothy and often very funny romantic comedy which features some great performances from the principle cast.

Audrey Tautou looks stunning in the role of Emilie and gives a decent if not outstanding performance. She does nothing new here but is fun to watch. Nathalie Baye (Catch Me if You Can) does a good job as the aging former nude model. Her transformation from dull, middle aged women to sex kitten is fun and well judged. The star though is Sami Bouajila. He plays a character full of surprises and depth and has a great face for awkward situations. The love he pours into the original letter also comes out in his interactions with Tautou. The supporting cast are mainly caricatures added for comic effect but each works well.

The plot is interesting and littered with humorous moments and lines as well as the occasional sad moment. As the plot unfolded I was desperate for Tautou and Bouajila to get together and the idea of her mother being the one in the way is funny and original. I enjoyed how the film twists and turns as more letters are written. The payoff is left for the final minutes and although what I wanted, made me shout “eww, gross!” due to previous events. The film on the whole made me laugh a lot and kept my attention despite watching it when tired.

One of the highlights of the movie is its setting, the beautiful town of Sète in the south of France. Shots of the town are used sparingly but provide an inspiring and attractive backdrop.

Overall Beautiful Lies is a funny and enjoyable film but isn’t remarkable. I enjoyed it more than my French Rom-Com loving girlfriend which might indicate its broad appeal. I wouldn’t watch it again but I’m very glad I watched it once.       


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