Quality romantic comedies (French or otherwise), are an elusive beast. The phrase ‘chick flick’ is now synonymous with poor quality filmmaking. Often trite, sickly and poorly written the romantic comedy is a genre that has suffered from some of the laziest efforts of recent years. The majority of the energy is put into casting big names in an ‘if you build it they will come’ method of attracting audiences.
Adapted from his own award winning novel, David Foenkino and his brother Stephane direct.
Nathalie (Audrey Tatou – Amelie, The Da Vinci Code) finds her idyllic life shattered when her husband is killed in a traffic accident. Following the loss of her soul mate she cuts herself off emotionally and channels all of her energy into her career. She spends a good deal of time fending off the advances of her boss while forming an attraction to Swedish colleague Markus (Francois Damien – Heartbreaker). He’s certainly not the typical love interest; gap toothed, ungainly, shy and socially awkward. Those closest to Nathalie make it clear that she could do much better.
Tatou has made a career out of romantic comedies, with extremely varied results. Delicacy keeps you off balance by switching between genuinely funny and touching moments to those of loss and despondency. Though very well acted by both Tatou and Damien, the lack of genuine chemistry between the two characters is evident. There is no real sense that Nathalie needs Markus to fulfill her and complete her recovery from losing her husband.
Delicacy is charming love story that benefits from the lack of Hollywood-style gloss and two engaging lead performances.