All About Them (2015)

All About Them_Crop

Imbued with an unavoidably bittersweet edge due to recent events in Paris, this French romantic comedy is nevertheless an upbeat and resolutely modern tale of the restorative power of love – no matter how unconventional.

In the equable surroundings of Lille, northern France, live free-spirited artist Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck) and veterinary surgeon Micha (Félix Moati) who, after four years together, find themselves at an emotional – and physical – stalemate. Their predicament is further complicated by the fact that they are both secretly involved with their close friend, workaholic lawyer Mélodie (Anaïs Demoustier), who is determined to forge a lasting connection with either… or both.

Part human drama, part comedy of errors, All About Them stays on the right side of Carry On-style farce thanks to the authenticity of its characters. Verbeeck, Moati and Demoustier are all completely charming, their clashing personalities inspiring a natural dynamic that keeps the whole thing grounded in truth. This also encourages the audience to invest in their happiness and, crucially, to keep an open mind about their fate.

The appeal of the players is complemented by writer-director Jérôme Bonnell’s measured approach to a subject he has successfully explored in earlier works like 2002’s Le Chignon d’Olga. He effectively blends dependable rom-com tropes – swelling music, bumbling seductions – with rather more defined artistic touches designed to underscore the strength of the passions at play here.

Faces are intimately framed by cinematographer Pascal Lagriffoul, lingering glances lend a palpable frisson, and a final sequence – in which the trio frolic in silhouette on a deserted beach – is a fitting tribute to a narrative which celebrates both the necessity of emotional freedom, and the meaningful connections that emerge when we acknowledge, and embrace, our differences. A timely message, indeed.

3 stars

UK Release Date: November 27, 2015

This review was originally published by The List

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