Monday, April 9, 2012
"Are there any good movies out?" I hear constantly, often followed by, "I mean, anything we would like?" Frequently the question arises in the context of a date night, and in such instances what is usually sought is a nice, light, innocuous romantic comedy. Often I have to be the bearer of bad news, but it so happens a lovely little French romcom called "Delicacy" and starring Audrey Tautou is playing this week at the Monica.
It's been about a decade since Tautou's breakthrough role in "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain," and she's no longer the fresh-faced, twenty-something spitting image of Audrey Hepburn. She's still got those scrumptious dimples, but there's ten years of life on that visage, and in "Delicacy" it gives her a gravitas that grounds the movie in situational reality and allows it to attain real comic effect.
Tautou plays Nathalie Kerr, a successful businesswoman whose soulmate, François, dies in a traffic accident. After willfully drowning herself in work for several years, she finds herself unexpectedly attracted to a junior colleague, Markus, a plain-looking, sort of schlubby Swede. None of her friends can believe this is the first man she turns to, nor can Charles, the lecherous general manager who's been wooing her throughout her bereavement. (He and Markus have a hilarious heart-to-heart at a bar one night, with Charles matter-of-factly incredulous at Markus' sweetness: "Oh god, he's polite too.")
"Delicacy" is a film of cleverly staged scenes and writing that builds on and circles back on itself, occasionally producing that wonderful feeling of waves of laughter. At just over two hours, it could stand 15 or 20 minutes of trimming, but "Delicacy" fills a real need, for romantic comedy that's actually romantic and funny.