Eric D. Snider

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (French)

Movie Review

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (French)

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: A-

Released: February 14, 2003

 

Directed by:

Cast:

Among the many perverse pleasures in "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" is that the central character, an obsessive, dangerous stalker, is played by Amelie.

Yes, it is Audrey Tautou, that wide-eyed French pixie who made the whole world fall in love in "Amelie," still as adorable and high-spirited as ever, except this time she may be responsible for a murder. Huzzah!

Laetitia Colombani's psychological thriller makes ample use of Tautou's "Amelie" notoriety, frequently putting her in situations that bear superficial resemblance to her activities in that film, activities like buying flowers and riding a bicycle. But the film has tricks up its sleeve beside the gimmickry. This is a film about the subjective nature of truth, and the inherent unreliability of a story told from only one point of view. And seldom has a film had so much fun with those themes.

Angelique (Tautou), a promising young art student, is housesitting for a few weeks while trying to prepare work for a show. She is preoccupied, however, with her infatuation for Loic (Samuel Le Bihan), a cardiologist with whom we get the impression she had a brief affair, perhaps only a one-night stand. He is supposed to leave his wife for her. On his birthday, he stands her up. The darkness begins. Later, he stands her up again. The darkness continues. Angelique is not to be trifled with.

Just when the film appears to be nothing more than "Fatal Attraction" in French, it pulls a switch: Forty minutes in, it rewinds back to the beginning and shows us everything again, this time from Loic's point of view. Events that were puzzling at first now make sense, given the proper context. Everyone's behavior makes more sense.

The film ingeniously uncovers all its secrets, leading up to a gleefully wicked conclusion. You see it coming a mile away, but no other resolution would be acceptable: Sometimes, the best way to end an utterly unpredictable film is with something just obvious enough to be satisfying. Here's a clever, devilishly entertaining film with an inquisitive eye for human nature and a sly hand at storytelling.

Grade: A-

Rated PG-13, some mild profanity, brief violence

1 hr., 34 min.; French with English subtitles

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