Dir: Régis Roinsard

Stars: Romain Duris, Déborah François, Bérénice Bejo & Shaun Benson

If you watch the trailer for Populaire you’ll notice that it’s a film about typing. Are you excited yet? No? Well, like most films using a competition premise there’s much more to it. The main action centres on the relationship between the two main protagonists Rose and Louis.

In the late ‘50s, Rose (François) finds herself stuck in her father’s shop in a small French village, whilst she longs to fulfil the dream of becoming a secretary. Travelling to an interview with insurance boss Louis (Duris), she manages to persuade him to take her on with her rapid typing skills. In return he insists that she win a national speed typing competition, and sets about coaching her to achieve this goal. His childhood sweetheart Marie (Bejo) and her husband/his best friend Bob (Benson) have misgivings about the whole thing.

Whilst Populaire slips comfortably into a long line of sweet French romantic comedies, what sets it apart is the assured direction and brilliant acting. Romain Duris is a fine actor and has consistently delivering excellent performance alongside his astonishing turn in The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Déborah François is pitch perfect in her portrayal of someone trying to find their place in life.  It’s beautifully film, unashamedly stylish and not scared to linger on the moment.

At times tongue-in-cheek, and often very amusing, Roinsard mixes in the serious with unabashed fun. Delve deeper below the surface and you’ll discover that Populaire has a huge heart, and you’re sure to leave with a huge smile on your face. It’s not re-inventing the wheel, and it follows a well trodden formula, but it’s a rung above most romantic comedies (low bar I know).

Populaire is screening now at the Showroom http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/populaire