He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not… (12)
One of the big discoveries of the last 12 months has been gamine French actress Audrey Tautou, who took the world by storm with her winning performance as Amélie in the film of the same name.
But with such massive acclaim comes the need to shift gears, and Tautou has done a magnificent job by choosing to participate in He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, the debut of 27-year-old writer-director Laeticia Colombani.
And what a change. This compelling tale of obsessive love casts Tautou as lovelorn artist Angélique, hopelessly obsessed with married doctor Loïc (Samuel Le Bihan, recently seen as the hero of Brotherhood of the Wolf).
Loïc is rapidly established as something of a philandering scumbag, first betraying his pregnant wife then dumping Angélique when he becomes bored with their secret trysts. But Angélique is determined not to accept his rejection without a fight. Soon Loïc is under siege from a woman who’s rapidly turning into a stalker… or is she?
As the tale unfolds it becomes clear there are two sides to every story and our heroine may not be the victim she appears to be. Emotional basket case, yes. Unbalanced, possibly. Justified in her increasingly bizarre acts? Maybe not.
Tautou, so good as the mischievous Amélie, here puts in an equally memorable performance as the determined Angélique, her eyes hinting at the maelstrom of emotions that continue to propel her forward and deeper and deeper into trouble.
Her power comes from her effortless knack of looking doe-eyed, vague and bovine. Le Bihan, on the other hand, is transformed from career-minded cardiologist to nervy victim, unburdening himself of his rage and frustration at staff, colleagues and patients as Angélique’s advances become more intense.
To say much more about the plot of Colombani’s excellent emotional rollercoaster would be to give the game away, save that the twist in this particular love story is not far removed from the central theme of Fatal Attraction.
No bunny-boiling here, but the reaction of this particular scorned woman is one that will resonate long after the credits roll. Colombani has revealed herself to be a filmmaker of surprising individuality. Bolstered by two fine lead actors and a clutch of equally fine supporting players (including Isabelle Carré as Loïc’s wife and Sophie Guillemin as Angélique’s pal) He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not… rapidly becomes a film to catch – a remarkably affecting and deeply unsettling domestic drama.
Don’t miss this one…