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the pathetic caverns - movies by title - He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

eclectic reviews and opinions

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (A la folie ... pas du tout)

2002, D: Leatitia Colombani, S: Leatitia Colombani & Caroline Thivel

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not looks quite deliberately packaged to capitalize on the appeal of Amelie. Star Audrey Tatou is front-and-center on the box, smiling her idiosyncratically winsome, big-eyed smile, surrounded by roses. And after the first fifteen minutes or so, you could be excused for thinking you had figured out the film's arc: Angelique (Tatou) will be ill-used by her older cardiologist boyfriend Loic (Samuel Le Bihan). She will probably find solace with her earnest young medical student pal, David (Clément Sibony) -- unless perhaps the twist is that he winds up with Angelique's pal Rachel (Isabelle Carré). If Tatou's character seems markedly less charming than in Amelie, that's probably just because this a lesser, derivative movie.

But director Laetitia Colombani and co-scripter Caroline Thivel have quite a different agenda, and packaging this movie to resemble a pleasant, but slight, romantic comedy is about as responsible as filling a bottle of aspirin with barbiturates. Make no mistake: this is not a typical "date movie." The narrative structure has a few odd spins, but ultimately I think it plays fair, if a bit roughly, with the viewer. The ending is a bit weak, but it does include an excellent sight gag. The movie's deviousness is decidedly related to its theme, and for whatever it's worth, I liked the film better after I spent some time thinking about it than right as the credits rolled.

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