Love Is in the Air: Film Review
Friday, Jan. 31 (Focus World)
Ludivine Sagnier, Nicolas Bedos, Jonathan Cohen, Arnaud Ducret, Brigitte Catillon, Jackie Berroyer, Clementine Celarie
Two ex-lovers reunite cute in this French romantic comedy.
When the stars of a French romantic comedy are as ridiculously good-looking and sexy as Ludivine Sagnier and Nicolas Bedos, there’s little doubt that they’ll get together by the end credits. Fortunately, Love Is in the Air — released under the more pungent title Amour et Turbulences in its native country — provides enough amusingly sharp twists and turns to involve the audience anyway. Adapted from an American screenplay, which no doubt accounts for its formulaic aspects, Alexandre Castagnetti’s film is an amusing diversion.
The central characters are Julie (Sagnier), an aspiring sculptor about to be married in four days to a man she’s pregnant by, and Antoine (Bedos), a lawyer with whom she had a tumultuous relationship that ended badly years earlier. In true rom-com fashion, the two meet — or at least reunite — cute, finding themselves coincidentally sitting next to each other in first-class seats on a flight from New York to Paris.
Cue the flashbacks, as the couple rehash their relationship in great detail, including their first date on the top of, where else, the Eiffel Tower. It quickly becomes obvious to both the audience and the fellow passengers, who improbably become thoroughly engrossed in the couple’s lengthy dialogue — “Better than the film,” one of them comments — that these two magnificent specimens are still very much in love.
Castagnetti’s snappy direction, which makes frequent use of split screens, makes the proceedings visually interesting even in the claustrophobic airplane scenes. And the screenplay, written by Vincent Angell and adapted and given additional dialogue by a slew of people including the director and Bedos, manages to be smarter than usual even while trafficking in familiar romantic comedy conventions. It’s judiciously fair to both central characters: Antoine is an unrepentant playboy — no surprise there — but the daffy Julie has more than a few issues of her own. Acidly commenting on the couple’s relationship travails in the extensive flashbacks are Antoine’s best friend (Jonathan Cohen) and Julie’s sardonic mother (Clementine Celarie).
Scored with a slew of vintage pop standards and delivering the sort of twist ending that strains the meaning of the word coincidence, the film relies heavily on the charm of its lead performers, and both rise to the occasion. Sagnier, in her first romantic comedy, is both quirkily charming and real, and Bedos, faced with the more difficult task of making his character likable despite his moral failings, is so charismatic and handsome that the desire of every female character in the film to immediately sleep with him feels all too credible. It will be a hard assignment to find equally magnetic American performers for the inevitable studio remake.
Production: Reverence, Manchester Films, Thelma Films
Cast: Ludivine Sagnier, Nicolas Bedos, Jonathan Cohen, Arnaud Ducret, Brigitte Catillon, Jackie Berroyer, Clementine Celarie
Director: Alexandre Castagnetti
Screenwriter: Vincent Angell
Producers: Mathieu Robinet, Julien Ralanto, Catherine Bozorgan, Christine Gozlan, David Poirot
Director of photography: Yannick Ressigeac
Production designer: Francois Emmanuelli
Costume designer: Emmanuelle Youchnovski
Editor: Scott Stevenson
Music: Nicolas Wauquiez, Evy Moon
No rating, 96 minutes