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Delicacy (3 stars)

Opposites attract in this Audrey Tautou-starring French romcom

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Delicacy

(12A) 104min

Perhaps only in French cinema is the currency value of beauty so high that an entire film can be drawn out of the prospect of a not-that-good-looking man getting it on with Audrey Tautou. Even Hollywood would try to pretend that some other values had a look-in. Yes, Tautou’s character here, Nathalie, is supposedly ‘delicate’ because of being recently widowed; but the real question the film asks as she contemplates a union with clumsy workmate Markus (François Damiens) is whether her exquisiteness can reasonably be expected to share space with his lack thereof.

Despite this rather yucky premise, the film musters not inconsiderable charm – Tautou is not mis-sold as an irresistible love object, and Nathalie’s workplace and family life are warmly and observantly drawn. But the film just lacks momentum: Nathalie’s mild resistance to nice, lumpen Markus doesn’t constitute a plot in itself, and we’re not offered much else to hold on to. Oddly, though her recovery from grief would have made for a rich subject, the film edges away from it, preferring to present itself as a low-impact opposites-attract romcom.

Selected release from Fri 13 Apr.

Delicacy Trailer

Delicacy (La délicatesse)

  • 3 stars
  • 2011
  • France
  • 108 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: David Foenkinos/Stéphane Foenkinos
  • Cast: Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Bruno Todeschini

Recently widowed Nathalie (Tautou) contemplates a union with clumsy workmate Markus (Damiens). Perhaps only French cinema values beauty so highly that an entire film can be drawn out of the prospect of a not-that-good-looking man getting it on with Audrey Tautou; despite considerable charm, there’s little else to hold on…

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