DVD Beautiful Lies
French Corsican director Pierre Salvadori is renowned for his romantic comedies, making a name from himself with Après Vous (2003) and, his most successful film to date, Priceless (2006). Teaming up again with writer Benoît Graffin and awarding-winning actress and French superstar Audrey Tautou, Beautiful Lies, the latest film from Salvadori, follows in the footsteps of its predecessors as a straight-up French rom-com.
Emilie (Audrey Tautou) is the joint owner of a hair salon in the southern French town of Sète. When she is not working in the salon, she meets her depressed mother Maddy (Nathalie Baye), who, following the split from Emilie’s father, has become a recluse and lost all self-confidence. One day, Emilie receives what she believes to be an anonymous love letter, which has in fact been written Jean (Sami Bouajila) – the salon’s timid handyman. Emilie dismisses the letter at first, but she soon comes up with a plan – she will send the letter to her mother to lure her into believing she can still attract men.
Emilie continues to write anonymous love letters, but her mother immediately realises that the letters have not been written by the same author. Meanwhile, trouble has broken out in the salon between the love struck Jean and Emilie. Jean is not what he seems – fired from UNESCO where he spoke Chinese, Japanese and Korean, Jean posed as a simple handyman to escape the troubles of his former job in the sunny south of France. Left feeling inferior to Jean’s academic prowess, Emilie decides give him one month’s notice to leave. However, when he is given the job of posting one of Emilie’s anonymous letters to her mother, he decides to post it personally to her home.
Awaiting the arrival of another letter, Maddy spots Jean, and believing that she has discovered the identity of her secret admirer, she follows him back to the salon and tries to speak to him. Horrified at the consequences of her actions, Emilie tries to keep her mother away from Jean, but she eventually gives in, and tells Jean the truth about the letter. Emilie persuades Jean into taking her mother out to dinner, insisting that she will pay him for his time.
Problems ensue as Maddy believes she truly has a young admirer, persuading Jean to meet up with her again. However, the course of love indeed never runs smoothly, and Emilie is forced to confront her feelings for Jean in the most unusual of circumstances…
Beautiful Lies is an entertaining and light-hearted film that puts a smile on your face from beginning to end. It is certainly not a highly intellectual or complex film; it is simple, enjoyable fun that does not pretend to be anything other than that. Set in the beautiful southern French town of Sète, this French rom-com is a perfect relaxing watch, whisking you away to the sunshine with typical rom-com-esque shenanigans and sun-kissed scenery.
The strength of Beautiful Lies is its humour, and it is certainly hard to suppress a smile for the duration of this film. The script, as a whole, is not all that interesting, but it is witty in all the right places and delivers some excellent comedy moments – particularly based in the hair salon. The performances from Nathalie Baye as the depressed mother Maddy and Judith Chemla as Paulette are particularly entertaining. Although the part of Paulette is only that of a secondary character, she provides some hilarious scenes throughout the film as the odd and awkward salon assistant, especially the opening scene when Emilie cuts off her fringe to her great dismay.
It is not trying to be anything other than a laid-back and light-hearted romantic comedy.
The narrative is that of a typical rom-com – an awkward love triangle, hilarity and angst ensue, and, of course, the true lovers end up together in the end. Critics of the film have argued that the plot action is contrived and that the film’s denouement is predictable from the beginning, and to a certain extent this is indeed true. However, the film’s light-hearted humour and heart warming characters render the contrived and predictable elements of the plot as unimportant.
Nathalie Baye steals the show as the depressed and love-hungry mother Maddy. It is not the classiest of performances from Baye, but she’s the strongest role by far, playing a vital role in the film’s most important comedy moments. Audrey Tautou’s performance is similar to that of Priceless – she looks fabulous and gives a steady performance, but nothing remarkable from the award winning actress of Amelie. Sami Bouajila, too, is reliable as the romantic handyman Jean, conveying with ease the timid and strong sides to his character, but, like Tautou, his performance as a whole is not particularly noteworthy.
For those who do not like rom-coms, this film is most definitely to be avoided, as it is a chick-flick from the very beginning. It is not trying to be anything other than a laid-back and light-hearted romantic comedy, made to put a smile on your face, rather than give your brain cells a work out.
Beautiful Lies is an upbeat and entertaining rom-com that transports you to the sunny streets of Sète, leaving your troubles at the cinema door. It is a fun, heart-warming and entertaining film about love that is not to be missed whether you are a fan of rom-coms, or if you simply just want to relax with a smile on your face.
Film: Robin-B-Hood Release date: 24th May 2010
Certificate: 15 Running time: 134 mins Director:…
Masterpieces by Italian Renaissance artists and the
Second World War don’t usually figure within the…
The Hedgehog (Le Hérrison) is Mona Acheche’s
directorial debut. From the confines of a bourgeois…