Monday, 26 March 2012



Ladies and gentlemen.

Excuse me.

Can I have your attention please?


Right, thank you.

My name is Paul and I am here to confess something to all of you.


This is much more difficult than I thought it would be.


The thing is.


You see.

Oh good grief...I didn't like "Amelie"

There...I've said it.

I feel much better now.

Why did I tell you that?

Well, on the surface there would appear to be some similarities between "Amelie" and "Delicacy".

Audrey Tautou...check.

An unorthodox love story...check.

Defiantly French...check.


But it is important to note that "Delicacy" is, in every way, a superior film to "Amelie".

Where "Amelie" was clunky, deliberate and a touch patronising "Delicacy" is more subtle, less obvious and knowing instead of patronising.

It's a joy.

Tautou plays Nathalie...the beautiful wife of Francois.  The pair are gloriously in love with one another.  She adores him, he adores her, they adore each other...were it not for the warmth of the performances of both Tautou and Pio Marmai you could hate them!

When Francois is knocked down by a car Nathalie is left alone, shattered and hopeless.

The years pass and she builds a new existence but, importantly, never creates anything resembling a life. She remains without hope and she remains without joy.  Losing herself in work and experiencing life vicariously through her best friend and the family she is building with her partner.  She eats, she sleeps, she works...but she does not feel anything other than a dreadful sense of loss.

One day her co-worker Markus enters her office to deliver some papers.  Wordlessly Nathalie approaches him, takes his head in her hands and kisses him with such passion and such intensity that he is left breathless and wordless.  Things like this don't happen to people like Markus...he is an outsider, a Swede making his way in France, he is too, really, a little too tall, he is overweight, he is balding and he does not have the Hollywood dental work that passes for "normal" today.

From this brief encounter a brilliantly funny and beautifully warm love story begins to unwind.  A game of cat and mouse is played between the two...with neither really sure what is happening or, indeed, if anything is happening.  They fall for each other but can't bring themselves to accept it.  They accept it but nobody else appears able to.

The real joy in "Delicacy" is in the honesty that stands at the heart of Markus and Nathalies relationship...she never has to deny her love for Francois, he never has to pretend to be something he is not.  At no point is there a suggestion that the only way to this beautiful womans heart is to go to the gym.  There is no ghastly "Pretty Woman" style shopping montage with Nathalie "making over" Markus.  He is who he is him that she falls for and neither one sees any need to change that.

I suppose that one would have to label "Delicacy" a "rom-com" because it is both romantic and genuinely funny but where it differs from the sort of films that Jennifer Anniston makes in Hollywood is that the romance never feels anything other than real, pure and true.  For that reason alone "Delicacy" deserves to be seen and to be praised.

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