Nathalie (Audrey Tautou) is left devastated after the death of her new husband Francois (Pio Marmai) and spends the next three years mourning him, in a daze, floating through life. One day unexpectedly she kisses a new colleague of hers, Markus (Francois Damiens), an unattractive, balding Swede in an act that leaves him perplexed and creates tensions at work.
The first half of this film was incredibly dull and bland. I was beginning to regret seeing it until the introduction of Damiens as Markus. He bought a spark to the film and took it from a magnolia tragedy to a sweet and funny romantic comedy. Up until this point it felt like the film was going nowhere. Nathalie had been hit on by her boss in a scene which bought nothing to the film; she had somehow gone from selling programmes at the theatre to having her own office and running some sort of case (which was never explained). Then Damiens arrived and lit up the screen. His character was bumbling and nervous but sweet and kind and it is clear why Nathalie is drawn to him. Their relationship creates many funny scenes as well as some that verge on melancholia.
Tautou is fine as Nathalie but she is hardly stretched. She has to play a pretty young widow who looks glum, something her face seems to do naturally. The supporting cast are all fine too and include a Christina Hendricks lookalike(Audrey Fleurot) who plays a secretary, wears the same outfits as ‘Joan’ from Mad Men and even has the same pen around her neck! The star of the show though is Francois Damiens who steals the film. He plays the sort of character that you would love to be friends with and you know would always look out for you. He also gives the ordinary man hope by getting together with Audrey Tautou. He also provides most of the film’s comic relief.
One of the problems with the film is that it suffers with the same musical trouble as Little White Lies. Obviously film makers choose music that conveys a certain mood but here as in the aforementioned film, it is so palpable it verges on being ridiculous. I also have a problem with the dull first act but overall this is a throwaway romantic comedy which features strong central performances and a message that it doesn’t matter how someone looks but what matters is what sort of person you are.