To centre a romantic narrative in the midst of a serious court case is something only the French could get right. We saw it in the Fabrice Luchini starring Courted last year, and now again in Justine Triet’s In Bed With Victoria. However, it’s a feature that bites off a little more than it can chew – with a myriad of conflicting plot lines (there are two court cases ongoing, for starters), deeming the romantic sub-storyline somewhat superfluous in this instance.
Virginie Efira plays the eponymous lead role, a high-flying lawyer and single mother, who sets off to a friend’s wedding, in what proves to be a hugely implicative affair, for it’s here she reconnects with her old friend Vincent (Melvil Poupaud) who is accused of attempting to murder his girlfriend – and he wants Victoria to represent him in court. Feeling obliged to lend a hand, it’s a case she really ought to have steered clear on, as she balances the stress with a new romance, as also at the wedding she bumped into a former client Sam (Vincent Lacoste), who takes it upon himself in becoming a rather staple presence in this woman’s already haphazard life.
On a more negative note, there is a little too much going on, and in turn, the film loses its focus, as we struggle to know what we’re to invest in. But given the distinctly unpretentious nature of the film, and the creative additions made by Triet, it ensures that while this may feel like a film we’ve seen before, it still has elements that will surprise us – and in cinema, that’s so rarely a bad thing.
In Bed With Victoria is released on August 24th