Tuesday, September 10, 2013
In the 1958 of director Régis Roinsard's trifle "Populaire," Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François), a young lady from the tiny village of St. Fraimbault, musters her courage, travels to the slightly larger town of Lisieux, and lands a job as a secretary to insurance agency manager Louis Echard (Romain Duris).
This position makes her the embodiment of the modern French woman; in society's view, she has no higher mountain left to climb. But Louis, who hires her despite a disastrous interview because she can type (well, hunt and peck) with grande vitesse, sees greater potential. She can stay on, he says, if she takes touch-typing lessons and enters the national (and later the world) speed-typing championship. This leads to almost two hours of will-they-or-won't-they love-hate romcom, delivered with a fair amount of verbal and physical wit and bolstered by the enthusiastic performances of the perfectly-mismatched François and Duris. It's all quite pleasant, and would likely have merited a full extra star at a significantly shorter runtime. At this length, though, "Populaire" simulates the experience of subsisting only on cupcakes for a week.