Posted by: greercn | November 29, 2011

Romantics Anonymous (Les Emotifs Anonymes)

This gorgeous French romcom is the most original and funny movie you will see this year, regardless of your knowledge of the French language. It’s just terrific to see people who are awkward and who lack any social skills at all arrive at finding true love, through chocolate and through the creation of chocolate.

Too many films have people with magical social skills managing just fine. D’oh, as Homer Simpson says. “Romantics Anonymous” breaks a lot of film conventions and is a better picture for that.

Hotel Chocolat sent an expert to introduce the preview screening I saw, at Stratford Picturehouse. We were told to keep the chocolate, in cute little muffin cups, until she told us how to taste it.

Being half Belgian, I do not need to be told how to taste chocolate. My early life in Belgium and Germany taught me how to taste chocolate and beer,  just fine. Still, unlike 70% of the audience, I complied and conserved and tasted dutifully, according to instruction.

Still, when you get free chocolate, you must not complain. The tasting delayed the film’s start by half an hour.

What a super movie. The trailer made me think of it as slightly too whimsical for my taste, in the league of “Amelie” and “Chocolat”. The sly charms of this move it above and beyond that level.

Benoit Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carre are super as the two leads here. Both manage to portray great shyness and style in their roles.

I would question the translation of “emotifs” as romantic, because I think the word “emotional” carries its own strength, but, hey, nobody has asked me to work on subtitles.

The story centres around the beautifully named Angelique Delange (angelic of the angels) who would already be a master chocolatier, given her track record, if she weren’t terminally shy.

Benoit plays Jean-Rene, who suffers from a similar affliction.

They meet and fall in love within minutes. The rest of the story concerns itself with how they get there, given their personality issues.

Gosh, it’s hilarious. All of screen 4 was full of laughter. You need no knowledge of the French language to adore this.

Director Jean-Pierre Ameris keeps the pace going – it’s only 100 minutes long – while the script, co-written by the director with Philippe Blasband, hooks in the viewer from the first lines.

The audience adored it.I adored it. See it, if you possibly can. Especially if you love chocolate.

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