Greetings again from the darkness. The old saying “opposites attract” is on full display in director and co-writer Julie Delpy’s latest, as she offers up a twist on the French farce by adding a dark undercurrent. Additionally, the film addresses the personal and societal challenges facing women in their 40’s who are successful in their career, and who also hold out hope for finding true love.
Ms. Delpy also stars as Violette, a germaphobe divorcee who works in the fashion industry in Paris. The film opens as Violette and her best friend Ariane (Karen Viard) are deep into girl-chat while hanging out at a spa … each annoyed that they are without a soul mate that would complete their lives (or at least fill the sexual void).
After dumping a freshly caught tuna in Violette’s lap (as they meet for the first time), and then informing her that he understands she’s not his type … you know, since she is a lesbian (which she is not) … Jean-Rene (Dany Boon) re-groups and begins charming her with his grounded and simple nature. These two form a cute, but odd couple of opposites and seem to very much enjoy each other’s company.
Things start to get confusing for the couple when her 19 year old son Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) begins his (initially) subtle clandestine activities designed to break up the couple. Soon enough we realize this wannabe artist goes well beyond typical passive-aggressive activities, and straight into full-on psychotic mode with Oedipal tendencies. His psychological warfare against Jean-Rene slowly builds from childish antics, to deceitful and devilish scheming, to downright criminal … all with a sense of black comedy for us viewers (can’t say the same for Jean-Rene).
Other movies such as Cyrus and We Need to Talk about Kevin have dealt with the mother-son relationships ranging from creepy to dangerous, but Delpy’s movie always hits us with a dose of laughter when it’s needed. The use of the movie classic Village of the Damned (1960) is especially spot on as Violette and Jean-Rene continue to plug away as a couple … even when it’s obvious to us that 3 is too many for a healthy relationship – especially when one could be a reincarnation of Damien from The Omen. The perfect ending reminds us that no one beats the French when it comes to a farce; even when the darkness is sprinkled on a bit heavier than usual.
watch the trailer: