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Populaire (Movie Review)


The “1-4-0″: Mad Men meets 1950’s Paris but with more romance and wit. That’s what you can expect with this wondrous, intoxicating romantic French comedy.

The Gist: A young French woman aspires to get a secretary job, but her clumsiness gets the best of her until her boss discovers her phenomenal ability to type lightning fast.

The Highlights: I love it when any art form decides to do a retro project, especially one dated circa the 1950’s. In this delightful French homage to the playful romantic comedies of the 1950s, director Régis Roinsard nails down the visual period with style, color and panache. The acting is top notch led by the beautiful and magical Déborah François. Her and Audrey Tatou are France’s gifts to cinema and I can’t wait to see more of François. The story though a bit silly, is playful and Roinsard manages to fill it with spark and gusto. And I cannot forget the wonderful happy music of composers Rob and Emanuel D’Orlando that enhanced the beautiful cinematography.

The Lowlights:  The male lead role, Louis Échard, played by actor Romain Duris, was in my opinion a vexing character who brooded about everything and complicated the smallest things. To say he got on my nerves is only the beginning. There was also the issue of pacing. The film hit some lulls that took away from the flow, but those defects were wiped away by Déborah François irresistible performance.

Pay or Nay?: Pay for it. Romantic comedies are for the most part dead in Hollywood (at least the good ones are). France has produced a solid one here and it should transport you to the Doris Day films of the 1950’s. Between the wonderful period imagery and the enchanting performance from Déborah François, you have yourself a delightful date movie that you and your other half will enjoy heartily.

Rated: R for a scene of sexuality
Release Date: September 6, 2013
Screenplay: Régis Roinsard, Daniel Presley
Director(s): Régis Roinsard
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Film Genre: Romantic Comedy

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