Romantics Anonymous (Les émotifs anonyms) (12A)

Director: Jean-Pierre Améris

Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde & Isabelle Carré

I have a small bugbear about English titles of French films, and indeed some of the inherent changes when subtitling, but I suppose in this case ‘Emos Anonymous’ would not exactly be a sparkling marketing strategy. There’s not a lot of black in this.  Indeed, it’s as saccharin sweet as any film you’re likely to watch this year.

Fromcoms are now as firmly embedded in the French psyche as soft cheese and red wine.  Ever since Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulai captivated a generation, they have been producing idiosyncratic offbeat romantic comedies that charm and beguile.

Romantics Anonymous centres around Jean-René (Poelvoorde), the owner of a small chocolate factory which is facing bankruptcy, and Angélique (Carré), a gifted chocolate maker who doesn’t quite get the job she bargained for when she turns up for a interview.  What the pair has in common are their shared extreme emotional problems which have thwarted their previous attempts to find the love they so desire, and in Angélique’s case, her career.  The film follows them as they quest to be together despite their emotional barriers, and to save the factory from imminent chocolate-related doom.

If you’re looking for something deep and challenging, then this is definitely not the film for you.  Indeed, for a director with a history of gut-wrenching dramas, this is a complete departure. It is one of the most delightful and adorable films I’ve seen this year.  It warmed my heart on a cold winter evening.  Poelvoorde and Carré perform their roles magnificently, and it is the lightness of touch they bring to their characters which make this film so special.  Imagine watching 80 minutes of kitten videos on Youtube, and that is somewhere near how this film will leave you feeling.

If you’re a fan of soft-centres, make sure you pick Romantics Anonymous for your evening delectation.

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