Year: 2008
Studio: Gaumont
Director: Josiane Balasko
Writer: Josiane Balasko/Franck Lee Joseph
Cast: Nathalie Baye, Eric Caravaca, Isabelle Carré

I've identified a peculiar hallmark in the dialogue of French movies, of a faux-60s cool speak that includes words like 'split' for leave and 'dig' for understand. It reminds me of the particular taste the Japanese have for extreme kitsch without realising it's ironic, and it's part of their culture I'd be interested to investigate to see if casual Gallic speech is really like that.

There wasn't an excess of it in this adult romantic comedy but it seemed to galvanise it for me because the relative innocence of it sits strangely with the acceptance of sexuality that's particular to European directors.

The elegantly lovely Nathalie Baye (A Pornographic Affair) is a successful middle-aged woman with a popular TV variety show that she runs with her sister, who lives down the hall from her. With none of her sister's relatively uptight attitude toward amour, Judith (Baye) is quite forward about her use of male gigolos to satisfy her.

Just one of them is Marco (Caravaca), a good-looking construction worker leading a double life even his pretty young wife Fanny (Carré) doesn't know about.

It all comes to a head when Judith and Marco start to fall in love and Fanny finds about her husband's second profession. At first she's hurt and angry, then fascinated, starting to interfere in Marco's affair with Judith and prompting lessons about love and self for all.

It would have been far more pedestrian (and made for a far more prudish audience) from a Hollywood studio and is all the more enjoyable for it.

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