He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

(A la Foile...Pas du Tout)

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not combines two recent trends seen in many of the international films that make it here, psychotic stars in suspense films and an inventive (if not gimmicky) use of reality. The fact that the psycho in question is Audrey Tautou (Amelie, Happenstance) makes things even more suspenseful. Amelie rocketed Tautou to stardom, with her impossibly cute face and charming attitude. Much of it translates here, as director and co-writer Laetitia Colombani intends, but it goes towards much more sinister ends. Colombani is using the fact that everybody has a preconceived notion of Tautou to show how disturbed her character, Angelique, really is. Angelique is a young art student carrying on an affair with Loic (Samuel Le Bihan, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Venus Beauty Institute), a cardiologist.

Her friends disapprove, and Angelique seems amazingly naive. Loic's wife Rachel (Isabelle Carre, La Buche, Tomorrow's Another Day) is pregnant, but Angelique tells her friends that Loic truly loves her and that he will leave Rachel for her. Angelique believes everything that Loic tells her, and is even going to go on a trip to Florence with him. It's clear that she is deluded. When Loic and his wife separate, she is ecstatic, but when he begins to show renewed interest in Rachel, Angelique begins to feel angry. Here is where Colombani and co-writer Caroline Thivel (Hey Cousin!) add their own little twist. It's a good thing they do, because to this point, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is a standard psycho girlfriend movie and even borders on the dull.

With the plot nearly over, it rewinds back to the beginning. However, this time, Colombani and Thivel show what happens from Loic's point of view. Needless to say, things play out very differently. Watching things from this perspective adds some depth in the story, and gives it the shot of energy it needs in order to regain the interest of the audience. It still follows the same path most of these types of stories do, which makes it only marginally interesting. Colombani does try her best to add dual meanings to as many scenes as possible to flesh out the story and make it deeper on a couple levels. She does cheat a little in the first half, by showing clips that aren't quite from Angelique's perspective, but serve to support what she thinks is happening. Tautou probably chose this role to expand her range, and it works to a certain degree. In the end, the two views only serve to hide the fact that it's blatantly obvious what is really going on.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 32 minutes, French with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains some minor violence, most likely a PG-13.

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