Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À La Folie Pas Du Tout) (2002)

As pitches go, "Fatal Attraction" meets "Amelie" is a scruff-grabber. But this French drama squanders its early promise, stretching a short-film premise over 95 largely tedious minutes.

Its sharpest move is casting Audrey Tautou. As the title character in Oscar-nominated international hit "Amelie", Tautou skipped around an idealised Paris as an impish doer of good. Her presence here, then, is smart filmmaking shorthand - it sets an ideal tone for the opening sequences, as her artist Angelique ambles around in a haze of love.

But Angelique's desire for a married cardiologist (Le Bihan) is ill-fated, and Laetitia Colombani's movie poses an intriguing what if? What if... Amelie went bad?

Beyond toying with an audience's initial expections however, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" struggles. Colombani does a good job of suggesting there is something Not Quite Right in the early scenes, using abrasive sound effects - charcoal on paper, shoes shuffling on granite, the filing of a key - to puncture the cosy aura. But once the major plot 'reveal' is performed, 40 minutes of tedium ensues.

The film is convinced of its own cleverness - almost smirking as its obvious toying with perspective is revealed. Like an irritating TV detective drama - Poirot, say - it doesn't unspool a fascinating mystery, merely denying the viewer crucial knowledge before tiringly explaining it all.

Patient viewers might appreciate the ride, and there are incidental pleasures - Le Bihan's angst, Angelique's spooky collages - but, really, life's too short. A movie this smug doesn't deserve to be seen.

End Credits

Director: Laetitia Colombani

Writer: Laetitia Colombani, Caroline Thivel

Stars: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabelle Carré, Clément Sibony

Genre: Romance, Drama

Length: 95 minutes

Cinema: 22 November 2002

Country: France

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