14 July 2024

WIN a DVD of British Rom-Com 'French Film'!

We have 3 copies of Jackie Oudney’s witty British romcom to give away. Click through to read the review and answer the question to win!

French Film (2008)

Reviewer: Pierre Badiola
Rated: 15 (UK)
Director: Jackie Oudney
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Victoria Hamilton, Eric Cantona, Douglas Henshall, Anne-Marie Duff


French Film follows the complex and interloping relationships of two London couples in different states of marital crisis. Magazine journalist Jed Winter, played by Hugh Bonneville, is led to couples counselling after his proposal to long-term girlfriend Cheryl (Victoria Hamilton), goes awry. Their long-time married friends on the other hand Marcus (Douglas Henshall) and Sophie (Anne-Marie Duff) appear to have the picture-perfect marriage, founded on chance and driven by passion, but when Jed becomes aware of certain secrets Marcus is keeping, the idea of true love seems like a far-off mystery.

That’s where fictional French film director Thierry Grimandi comes in. Played by an ever assured and suave Eric Cantona in a role that precursors his guardian-angel-like character in Looking For Eric a year later, Grimandi hangs like a spectre over the majority of the film, seen only via television segments viewed by Jed in preparation for an upcoming interview. Grimandi’s views on love are artistic, passionate, stereotypically French and, according to the admittedly xenophobic Jed, obnoxiously pretentious.

This of course is the essence of Jed’s character — he is too dulled by routine to feel the true rapture of love and so too is his partner, who unfortunately does not get as much of an emotional journey as the protagonist. Luckily, Jed’s prejudice and charm-less manner is made sympathetic rather than insufferable by witty dialogue and a general air of ‘we can learn from the French!’.

The glowing, particularly talky production, with emphasis on dinner-dates and therapy, gives the film a Woody Allen feel more than anything, and rarely dips into the atypical overblown romantic-gesture fair of a Richard Curtis. This may leave some romcom fans wanting a little more passion, a little less soul-searching, but for me the screenplay is smart enough and realistic enough to warrant a recommendation.

Short film director Jackie Oudney’s first dip into feature film territory is an overall wholesome, likeable affair, fleshing out a number of British/French stereotypes into characters whose crossed paths ultimately become invaluable to each other.




To WIN a copy of the DVD, released on the 7th of February, just tell us:

Famous French footballer Eric Cantona went on to play a guardian angel in Looking For Eric, but who was it directed by?:

a) Mike Mills
b) Ken Loach
c) Mike Leigh
d) Alex Ferguson

E-mail your answers to: cinehouseuk@gmail.com and we’ll pick a winner next week

Deadline 17th February.




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