He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (2002) / Thriller-Drama

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for adult themes and some obsessive behavior
Running Time: 92 min.

Cast: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabell Carre, Clement Sibony, Sophie Guillemin, Eric Savin
Director:  Laetitia Colombani
Screenplay: Laetitia Colombani, Caroline Thivel

Review published August 14, 2003

A la Folie...Pas du Tout will probably be viewed by most people because they enjoyed Audrey Tautou's (Happenstance, L'Auberge Espagnole) performance in Amelie, but don't expect the same film here.   Although she makes some of the same funny faces, probably spoofing herself, this is a mostly serious dramatic thriller about obsession and infatuation.  It's a French film with a lot of Hollywood sensibilities, so if you want another colorful pastiche, you're going to be disappointed in what amounts to another spin off of Fatal Attraction.  Still, for what it is, it does keep your interest until the end, so the modest recommendation is well earned.

Tautou is Angelique, a young woman infatuated with a married heart doctor (Le Bihan, Brotherhood of the Wolf).  She can think of only one thing, being with him, but he still remains with his wife (Carre, Beautiful Memories), who is well into her pregnancy.  She sends him flowers and gifts frequently, even plans trips, but is always disappointed in his response, or I should say, lack there-of.  Will the two ever find happiness, or is this merely a delusion...a maddening descent of one woman into oblivion?

The only real downside to He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not comes from the very tired plot, so often used that there is a definite tendency to become predictable for savvy movie viewers.  However, most films in the obsession genre are far worse than this, so credit Colombani (My Stars) for scoring some points in the fresh presentation and keeping up a good sense of energy.  The stars of the film are always a joy to watch, especially Tautou, who creates a sympathetic character confused in her feelings, and even more confused in her actions.  The rest of the cast is fine as well, along with the hip music, memorable color schemes, and nice cinematography you've come to expect from a French production.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is primarily for the more serious of Tautou's fans, or just for those who enjoy well-crafted thrillers.  The main story is stale but the competency in every other department manages to breathe some life into these tired lungs.  Know this:  you aren't going to get a light comedy or sweet romance.  Don't let the cute face on the poster fool you...deadly things come in the prettiest of forms.

Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo