PARIS – MANTATTAN. Starring Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel and Marine Delterme. Directed by Sophie Lellouche. 77 minutes. Rated PG (mild coarse language and themes).
Another very French romantic comedy.
The Manhattan reference will immediately alert potential audiences to a Woody Allen connection. And, it is more than a connection. Woody Allen’s presence and quotations from his films (with attention to a large poster on the wall who seems to talk (with quotes from his films to the I-want-to-be-alone heroine) pervade the film and the consciousness of its main character, Alice. She shows us how she was influenced by his movies as a girl. As an adult she goes to see his movies again and again, converses in her imagination with him and the film uses the device of Alice and ourselves hearing his voice from quite a number of his movies.
Alice is a loner. She is awkward in relationships. This does stretch our credulity more than a little because Alice Taglioni is one of the most attractive of French stars we are likely to see on the screen! So, allowing for that, we follow her clashing with her married sister, pestered by her father as to why she is not married. She works at his pharmacy and he retires leaving it to her. At parties she is awkward. After leaving one she misses a taxi and finds herself chatting to Victor (Patrick Bruel), an ordinary kind of man who installs security devices, including in her father’s house. We know that they are destined for love, despite Alice’s ultra-resistance and the fact that Victor does not know Woody Allen’s films – though he finally more than makes up for this.
This means that there are some entertaining moments between Alice and Victor as they take each other for granted, though he is really entranced by her, and eventually, with the help of Woody Allen, Alice’s eyes are opened and she realises where her life should be going.
It is easy to say that this is just another French romantic soufflé, but this one has some good things going for it.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out December 13, 2012.