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Delicacy, a Film Review by Alyn Darnay





Delicacy (La Délicatesse) in French with English Subtitles

Review by Alyn Darnay

Directed by: Stephane & David Foenkinos

Cast: Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Pio Marmaï

So if I wanted to make a lightweight, semi-comic, romantic film and I lived in France, the only actress I’d use is Audrey Tautou. You should remember her as that sweet fey faced beauty from Amélie (2001), The Da Vinci Code (2006), and Coco Before Chanel (2009). That’s exactly what brothers Stephane and David Foenkinos did to turn David’s runaway best selling French novel “La Delicatesse” into a movie called Delicacy, and as always she makes the film work. Or at least she and French comic star Francois Damiens, Heartbreaker (2010). Without them, I think it would have been a dull trip through the standard romantic universe.

As I understand it, in France there’s a controversy going on about the film. I know, I know, that’s not so unusual, there’s always a controversy going on in France, but this one is over the way the filmmakers approached their conversion from the written page to the screen. They took this beloved novel and “Oh My God” added scenes. (How dare they, even when the screenwriter is the person who wrote the novel.) It got thousands of fans of the book incensed. Not that they hated the film, which they didn’t, they just didn’t want the material played with like that. Besides, this stuff is great for conversation over espresso and a napoleon.

The story goes like this. Ms. Tautou plays Nathalie, a beautiful, happy, and successful Parisian business executive who meets, falls in love with and marries her true soul mate. After several years of blissful marriage, an accident leaves her a widow locked in the depths of despair. She throws herself into her work and for years lives a very solitary life, locking away her emotions, and disregarding everyone’s attempts to change that. Then, one day, for no apparent reason, Nathalie, possessed of a moment of madness kisses her co-worker, the odd Swedish employee Markus (Damiens). He, being the strange creature that he is, immediately falls head over heels in love with her, and begins the first pursuit of a woman in his life. I should say inept pursuit, which against all odds, she begins to warm to. But nobody thinks this romance should happen. Not family, not friends, not co-workers, I suppose not even the homeless guy in the street.

Audrey Tautou (Nathalie)

Delicacy comes off as a sweet romantic story about two people who are too scared to let loose their inner demons and love each other. Their relationship runs the gamut from uncomfortable to genuinely loving. It’s different from the run of the mill romances we usually get these days and tugs at your emotions a bit as you watch it. I had some problems with the progression of the story, some things develop too fast while others progress way too slowly, but as I said before, the performances save the whole thing. You should enjoy the film.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (out of 5)


TRT: 1 hour 48 minutes

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