Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amour or Less: "Amour de Femme" (2004)

Sylvie Verheyde directs this French film that deals with a lesbian relationship...with predictable characters and results.

Jeanne (Helene Fillieres) is a bored masseuse married to David (Anthony Delon). At a birthday party for David's best friend Franck (Jeannick Gravelines), Jeanne is instantly attracted to Franck's flighty cousin Marie (Raffaela Anderson). Marie is a dancer, and Jeanne decides to take up the physical activity in Marie's class after ten years off to marry and raise a child. Marie and Jeanne begin a careful friendship, aware of their mutual attraction and eventual ramifications. The couple finally do find themselves together, and David and Franck both react the way you know they will.

The cast of "Amour de Femme" is very good, despite the material. Fillieres is a tall classic beauty, and she often tries to overcome the terminal gloominess her character is suffering from. Anderson is also good, although the script's idea of "free spiritedness" is my idea of "kinda weird." Delon's David is all angst and fury, and Gravelines is not in enough scenes as Franck to register much.

The "uninhibited free spirit pulls a straight as an arrow type out of their cocoon, and shows them life as they have never seen it" plot has been done to death, and the addition of the lesbian romance is not unique enough to set the film apart from others of its ilk. Verheyde directs the film well enough, but by the time David dresses like a woman to get back at Jeanne, I felt as much despair as the characters.

This is a morose film, with little happiness (especially lacking the happiness of a new love). While the viewer might cheer for Marie and Jeanne, the two characters are so down about their situation, you might think Jeanne is better off with David, who comes off as a pretty good guy. David does not force his wife into the arms of another woman (despite the Netflix plot summary), but his overreaction to their relationship should have been a sharp, insulting, black-comedic dig at Jeanne, not more angst.

"Amour de Femme" is an innocuous romance which might have benefited from a little levity. They should retitle it "Morose de Femme." (* * *) out of five stars.