Delicacy – Review

The Mild Concern editors, Tim and Kat take to foreign cinema regularly. The closest I usually get to foreign films is when a non-American/Englishman directs a mainstream release. That said, any time a new Audrey Tautou film is released I’ll be there in the blink of an eye.

Sadly Tautou’s latest starring-film, Delicacy (or La Délicatesse if you will) has been hit with numerous reviews of mediocrity, it simply being shamed as a “been there, done that” flick. Sure, by French film standards it probably is nothing new but for those who don’t experience much European cinema it is an absolute delight – even if I did spend half of the film trying to stop myself from crying.

Based on the novel of the same name (written by the David half of the brother-directors of the film, Stéphane and David Foenkinos), Delicacy observes relationships idyllic and not so conventional when career-girl Nathalie’s (Tautou) world is destroyed by the untimely death of her husband. Three years later and still grieving she impulsively kisses workmate Markus (François Damiens) who is ugly even by European cinema’s standards. So begins the mostly funny, sometimes awkward, but always touching pseudo beauty-and-the-beast tale.

Packed with so much cheese that I’m sure Garry Marshall (Dir. Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve) had a heart attack of envy, Delicacy manages to actually steer away from all of the superficiality of the traditional (Hollywood-like) romantic comedy; its directors and acting ensemble huffing and puffing with genuine heart at making a film with as little fluff as possible. Of course, when Pez dispensers are love-gushing gifts and all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets are ironic romantic evenings the average cinemagoer probably wants to throw up, but Delicacy’s delicately (hur hur) handled sentimentality never feels artificial enough for us to stop believing in the story.

It’s a great effort from all involved, and the chemistry that the film’s plot demands of its cast is sufficient enough to get the point across that Audrey Tautou should never play a sad character because it is too depressing for me anyone to handle. There are plentiful hilarious moments and enough drama that expands on the formulaic rom-com template evident that makes it more than worth the price of a ticket. Just pick up a box of tissues on the way to the cinema.

Out Now – 13th April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods
Making the most of Friday 13th is this genre-bending film that turns the concept of the horror film on its disembodied head. One reason to get excited is that this was co-written by Joss Whedon who will always be God because he brought us Buffy (and I once got his autograph back when I was a nerd, before I become all cool and started a film blog). The only bad review I’ve heard was on Radio 4’s Front Row which I listen to like all well-adjusted 23 year olds, all others (including our own) are glowing and the film sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. Incidentally I haven’t seen it yet so consider taking me along, I’m toilet trained and have my own Pez dispenser.

Blackthorn (limited release)
Butch Cassidy has fled to Bolivia and gets into some scrapes with a young robber.

Gospel of Us (limited release)
“This project is the film version of the Passion play that was performed throughout Port Talbot in Easter 2011.” Great synopsis IMDB!

Mozart’s Sister (limited release)
The “re-imagined account” of Mozart’s older, musically gifted sister. When I want re-imagined Mozart I watch Amadeus; it’s three hours long and won eight Oscars, what’s not to love?

Delicacy (limited release)
Audrey Tautou (swoon) stars as a widow being “courted” by a co-worker.

A Night to Remember (limited release)
Re-release of 1958 film in which “the Titanic disaster is depicted in straightforward fashion without the addition of fictional subplots”. Can’t help but feel that this synopsis is having a dig at James Cameron. I approve.

Edge (limited release)
“A hotel. A cliff. Six lost people, looking for something, or looking to lose themselves.” Enigmatic. Staccato. Pretentious.