“Love affairs are usually strewn with obstacles and incidents”
After a terrible break up, struggling novelist Maxime (Niels Schneider) takes a trip out the country to visit his cousin François (Vincent Macaigne) and his new wife Daphné (Camélia Jordana) and maybe come up with a fresh idea about what to write about. Over the course of the week Maxime and Daphné spend a lot of time with each other. Talking about the past relationships that lead them to where they are now, visiting the many beautiful locations in the area and philosophizing about love.
Maxime fell for his business partner’s girlfriend who had her own thoughts and feelings about relationships. While Daphné, a film editor, fell for a director who only saw her as a contemporary and nothing more. Daphné eventually meets and over time develops feelings for François, a married man in a loveless marriage, whose wife has some secrets of her own.
The only real consequence from the affairs are the emotional burden that they carry. The characters are, for the most part, open and honest about what they want from their partner, but realize that if they keep searching for total perfection with the person they plan spending the rest of their lives with, they will never find it. No relationship is 100% perfect, but as long as everyone works together they can achieve something greater than themselves.
It’s like a French sex farce without the slapstick. Everyone eventually has an affair with someone else, no one is left out. Beautifully photographed and underscored with classical music that make every scene feel like it’s happening to the audience, and wonderfully acted by everyone on screen, writer/director Emmanuel Mouret takes us on a journey of self discovery. No one is inherently a bad person, all of their actions come from a place of deep emotional connections that they feel, and at the end of the day, everyone gets what they want, or at least what they claim is what they want.
AF French Film Festival 2021 – ‘Love Affair(s)’ (Les choses qu’on dit, les choses qu’on fait)
Reviewed online (screener provided by Rialto Distribution – also screening at Alliance Française French Film Festival 2021), March 26, 2021. Rating: M. Running time: 122 min.
PRODUCTION: (AU) A Rialto Distribution release of a Canal+, Cine+, Moby Dick Films production. Producer: Frédéric Niedermayer.
CREW: Director/screenplay: Emmanuel Mouret. Cinematography: Laurent Desmet. Editing: Martial Salomon.
CAST: Camélia Jordana, Niels Schneider, Vincent Macaigne, Émilie Duquenne, Jenna Thiam, Guillaume Gouix, Julia Piaton.