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.

In Bed With VictoriaPartly what makes this congenial drama work is the affability of the lead role, as Efira is such a relatable, engaging protagonist who is easy to invest in and root for. The role itself is emblematic of a nation’s industry that is consistently providing nuanced roles for women, of all ages and in high-power jobs, while Victoria is the older half of the romantic narrative. The other court case that is going on at the same time as the aforementioned attempted murder one, is Victoria’s ex (and father to her two daughters) writing libellously about his former wife, as he is accused of depicting the heroine in his ‘so-called fiction’ in an unfavourable way. Well, the same certainly can’t be said here of director Triet.

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