Tuesday, January 19, 2010

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À la folie... pas du tout)

I wrote a couple weeks ago here about how disappointed I was in Audrey Tautou's performance in Priceless.  I know she may never match her wonderful role in Amelie, but I thought I'd try again with He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.  This film does shamelessly use her personality to create a character similar to Amelie: her adorable smile, winsome character, delight in simple pleasures.  But HLMHLMN twists her a bit, bringing out an unforeseen dark side.

Angelique (Tautou) is hopelessly in love with a married doctor.  She patiently waits for him to leave his pregnant wife so they can run away together.  See sends him flowers, a painting, and leaves messages on his answering machine.  Eventually, he spurns her, leading her to attempt suicide.  That's what we see from her perspective.  From that point, the film shifts back to the beginning, showing the story from his perspective.  That's when it gets interesting.

I hesitate to say more about the plot, because it does provide some interesting surprises.  Suffice it to say Angelique suffers from a disorder called erotomania, which I guess I had heard of before but had not heard that name.

This film is not as endearing as Amelie, but it's interesting in that its tone and presentation give the impression that it's a romantic drama/comedy, yet the story itself verges into suspense.  Even thought that's not the package I was expecting, I thoroughly enjoy the unwrapping.  By the way, I wondered about the title.  I don't know French, but the French title didn't seem to match the English one.  I found an interview with the writer, in which she explains that the petal-plucking he loves me he loves me not game in French goes like this: he loves me...just a little...a lot...passionately...madly...not at all.  Thus the literal translation of the French title is "Madly . . . Not At All."  Given that background, that's a much better title.

Bottom line, 3 stars.

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