Wider aspirations dominate proceedings in Gerald Hustache-Mathieu’s frothy thriller, Nobody Else But You, both in the filmmaking and the story itself.

Nobody Else But You focuses on a recently deceased character, local pin-up turned weather girl and cheese mascot Martine Langevin (Sophie Quinton). Martine adopts the stage name Candice Lecoeur, following her ‘discovery’ at a petrol station, where she works, by a photographer. Her aspirations look beyond the small town life that at first seems set out for her and she quickly becomes a celebrity, but significantly only in her home town of Mouthe.

Narrated from the grave and through her diaries, Candice’s intriguing story is slowly uncovered by amateur sleuth and fiction writer David Rousseau (Jean-Paul Rouve) who becomes fascinated by the mystery surrounding her death.

Although originally only visiting the town, to collect on the will of a recently deceased relative, Rousseau decides to stay and write his next novel based on his investigation into Candice’s death, which he believes is not the cut and dry suicide that the local police say it is. As Rousseau begins peeling back the layers of Candice’s life we are treated to a series of flashbacks that visit Candice at crucial moments in her life, moments filled with a lot of humour but also sadness.

As you can probably guess from the title there is a strong connection to Marilyn Monroe in Candice’s life and the similarities between the two mount up as the story develops and Rousseau’s investigation heats up. As a result, anyone with reasonable familiarity with Monroe’s life will be able to second guess some of the reveals in the film but Hustache-Mathieu (who also wrote the film) manages to sidestep the obvious enough times as to avoid the mystery becoming too predictable.

Monroe is not the only inspiration in Nobody Else But You, with characters seemingly plucked from other films and television series and given a slight twist; Twin Peaks, Fargo and To Die For seem like obvious influences, and the sight of a Fantomas poster in a police station confirms that Hustache-Mathieu is more than happy to foreground his multiple reference points.

For all its obvious and occasionally excessive referential fun Nobody Else But You does have some narrative subtlety, the sexuality of one of the main characters is suggested but never explored for instance, and some of the oddball characters that occupy the town are satisfyingly unique creations. For instance, the receptionist, Betty (played with obvious delight by Clara Ponsot), at the hotel Rousseau stays at is incredibly entertaining, a bored young woman who tries at every opportunity to seduce Rousseau whilst pretending to be uninterested in him.

Side characters in the town generally add to the Coen-esque charm but it is the central relationship between Rousseau and Candice, two characters who never actually meet, that gives the film its strongest backbone. The two actors are both excellent in the respective roles with Rouve suitably laconic and Quinton suitably perky but both adding just enough shading where it matters most.

Hustache-Mathieu seems entirely aware of the the kind of film that he is making, fun but slight, and the fact that Rousseau’s books are considered trashy but secretly much loved is a less than a subtle signifier as to the area that he is deliberately working within. Covers of older pop songs dominate the soundtrack too giving us another taste of the intended tone and the intention behind the film.

Nobody Else But You is a deeply fun and highly engrossing thriller but at times the grab-bag-of-references approach to the story and the style does drift into simply being derivative and whilst there’s frothy enjoyment to be had it is occasionally hard to shake the feeling that a lot of what is done here has been done better elsewhere.

Nobody Else But You is playing as part of the London Film Festival on the 17th and 20th of October.