Having broken up, somewhat viciously, both Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and unashamed womaniser Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) are less than pleased when their seats on this predictably unbearable long-haul flight are right next to each other. With the former soon to be married, the latter becomes desperate to convince her otherwise, as they study and deconstruct their relationship, and try and get to the bottom of why things didn’t work out between them – and why it’s likely they never will.
This French number simply couldn’t come from anywhere else, with a distinctive whimsicality running right the way through it, as though a parody of the nation’s distinguishable, cinematic romanticism that we’ve grown to adore. The structure is beneficial to the piece, if somewhat contrived, as we fluently deviate into flashbacks, using the plane setting as a mere catalyst for which this story is based upon. The structure works well too, as we patiently fill in the gaps, piecing together exactly what occurred between these two star-crossed lovers.
The key problem, however, is that we simply struggle to root for their love, as his misanthropic, misogynistic ways – mixed with her engagement to a seemingly pleasant fellow, devalues the entire plot, as conversely, we remain actively against their getting together. It’s not a particularly healthy exploration of love either, as one that’s cliched, idealistic and shallow, while it’s also not a very glowing representation of women, as we watch on as she slowly succumbs to his charm, despite his reprehensible imperfections. Nonetheless, Bedos has done a commendable job in winning the viewer round somewhat, and although initially you struggle to comprehend quite how he lures so many women into bed, he then goes and plays the piano with a delightful fervour. It’s fair game after that.
There’s a charm to this title, in spite of the fact it’s an immensely cliched, predictable romance flick that is heavily flawed to say the least. But there’s just something about French cinema, this ability to take such unoriginal, hackneyed rom-coms and bear an enchantment of sorts that’s so undeniable and enamouring.