FILM REVIEW H1/2
No Love for ‘He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not’
Don’t Take Your Date to See This on Valentine’s DayBy Julie H. Hong
A La Folie ... Pas Du Tout ... (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not)
Written by Laetitia Colombani and Caroline Thivel
Directed by Laetitia Colombani
Starring Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabelle CarrÉ, ClÉment Sibony, and Sophie Guillemin
If you want to be at all romantic this Valentine’s Day, do not take your date to see He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (also known as A La Folie ... Pas Du Tout ...). While this film may have been intended to be a daring romantic thriller, in reality it is none of the above.
The film opens with AngÉlique (Audrey Tautou), a promising art student, under love’s spell. The object of her affections is a married cardiologist (Samuel Le Bihan). Sound familiar? The story has been exhausted, and one wonders why they continue to try. This is nothing more than The Crush in French -- and just as bad.
In addition to being generic, one of the film’s major flaws is its script. The dialogue, often lame, displays no wit, cleverness, or even humor, and the consequence is weak central characters. AngÉlique is a feminist’s nightmare, moping over a married man who promises to leave his wife but never does. Though he stands her up on multiple occasions, she continues to defend him and makes excuses for his behavior. But there is nothing particularly interesting about her, making her difficult to like or dislike, while LoÏc never appears to have a personality at all. As a result, neither character is able to generate any sympathy. The supporting characters, comprising AngÉlique’s friends, David (ClÉment Sibony) and HÉloÏse (Sophie Guillemin), and LoÏc’s wife Rachel (Isabelle CarrÉ), are equally dull.
This may have been salvaged by an exciting plot; however, neither interesting nor suspenseful, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not couldn’t possibly be more tedious. AngÉlique is represented in the film by a delicate desert plant that can only survive in a controlled climate; and she, like the plant, lives in her own controlled environment, in which her fantasy is reality. As this “reality” breaks apart, her destruction of everything around her, including herself, sets in.
Audrey Tautou (AmÉlie) portrays the cute and naÏve AngÉlique convincingly enough, though her naÏvetÉ at times feels forced. Samuel Le Bihan (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Red) is acceptable but hardly noteworthy as LoÏc.
The only difference between He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and its predecessors is its storytelling, which employs the use of different perspectives to unfold the plot. This might have been considered creative, if it hadn’t already been done -- and with greater success -- in films such as Hilary and Jackie, Run Lola Run, and Go.
Ultimately, the storytelling is the film’s downfall. The film relies too heavily on its presumed cleverness to make up for its weak story and dull script; and rather than unveiling an intriguing mystery, it merely creates blanks and, upon retelling the story from another perspective, fills them in. The result is a thin plot stretched beyond capacity. At the end, what you’re left with is considerably less than the sum of its parts.