April 21, 2021

French Rom Com Picks

To fend off the blues, is there anything better than to sit back and watch a French romantic comedy? Some of these suggestions have absolutely no nutritional value while others have quite a bit of meat on the bone.

Amélie (2001) Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. This is just a delightful film from start to finish including the charming soundtrack. Other non-rom-com Jeunet works include “The City of Lost Children” and “A Very Long Engagement” with a French-speaking Jodie Foster.

After You (“Après Vous” – 2003) Directed by Pierre Salvador. Daniel Auteuil as a maitre d’ of a Paris bistro becomes entangled in a love triangle to comic effect.

L’Auberge Espagnole (2002) Directed by Cedric Klapisch. Set in an apartment building in Barcelona, Spain, a group of European young adults see their lives unfold. With Audrey Tautou. See “Paris” below.

The Closet (“Le Placard” – 2001) Directed by Francis Veber. Starring Daniel Auteuil as a man who pretends to be homosexual to avoid being fired. With Gerard Depardieu. You may remember Veber’s earlier 80’s comedies, “La Chevre” and “Les Comperes” or 1998’s “The Dinner Game.” See “The Valet” below.

Cote d’Azur (“Crustacees et Coquillages” – 2005) Directed by Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau. A French family of four goes to the south of France for their seaside vacation with romantic embroilments from all sides.

5 X 2 (“Five Times Two” – 2004) Directed by Francois Ozon. A French love affair is depicted in five scenes from ending to beginning. Other notable Ozon films include “8 Women” and “Swimming Pool.”

The Hairdresser’s Husband (“Le Mari de la Coiffeuse” – 1990) Directed by Patrice Leconte. Other of his films include “Monsier Hire,” “Ridicule,” “Girl On the Bridge,” “The Widow of Saint-Pierre,” and “Man On the Train.” See “My Best Friend” below.

Director/actor Yvan Attal

And They Lived Happily Ever After (“Ils Se Marierent et Eurent Beaucoup d’Enfants” – 2005) Directed by Yvan Attal. The director is the real-life husband of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, a busy actor and the voice dubber for Tom Cruise in French versions of American movies. See “My Wife Is an Actress” below.

The Housekeeper (“Une Femme de Menage” – 2002) Directed by Claude Berri. Newly divorced, Jacques played by Jean-Pierre Bacri becomes enamored with his new cleaning lady. “Jean de Florette” and “Manon of the Spring” were also directed by Berri.

My Best Friend (“Mon Meilleur Ami” – 2007) Directed by Patrice LeConte. A middle-aged antique dealer played by Daniel Auteuil discovers that no one loves him. See “The Hairdresser’s Husband” above.

My Wife Is An Actress (“Ma Femme Est une Actrice” – 2001) Directed by Yvan Attal. A sports writer grapples with his marriage to a famous actress. With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal and Terence Stamp. See “And They Lived Happily Ever After” above.

Paris (2009) Directed by Cedric Klapisch. A romantic comedy entry despite the main character, a dancer facing his mortality from his Paris window. With Juliette Binoche. Some comparisons with Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” See “L’Auberge Espagnole” above.

Toi et Moi (2006) Directed by Julie Lopes-Curval, the sole female director in this list. Two sisters, a writer and a musician investigate their romantic options.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (“Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” – 1964) Directed by Jacques Demy, a member of the French New Wave who made films from 1960 to 1988. Demy also directed musicals “Donkey Skin” and “Young Girls of Rochefort.”

The Valet (“La Doublure” – 2006) Directed by Francis Veber.  With Daniel Auteuil, Gad Elmaleh and a French-speaking Kristin Scott Thomas. A car valet and a top model pretend to be lovers at the behest of a cheating CEO. See “The Closet” above.

Young Girls of Rochefort (“Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” – 1969) Directed by     Jacques Demy. Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sister Francoise Dorleac sing and dance their way through a Michel LeGrand score along with a young George Chakiris and the still fleet-footed Gene Kelly. See “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” above.

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