Love, etc. (1996)
Directed by Marion Vernoux
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Charles Berling.
1996 100 minutes In French w/ English subtitles.
Rated: (for nudity, sexual innuendo, and profanity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, August 15, 1999.
Marion Vernoux's "Love Etc." is a rare French film that could almost be mistaken for an American film in its portrayal of three characters who are about as annoying and dim-witted as a bunch of flies. Marie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is a lonely art restorer who puts a personal ad in the local newspaper in hopes of meeting a charming companion who can sweep her off her feet. Benoit (Yvan Attal), a man with no self-esteem and a low self-worth level, answers it, but afraid that she will be turned off by his appearance, sends her a picture of his better-looking, womanizing best friend, Pierre (Charles Berling), instead. Once Benoit and Marie meet, they instantly hit it off, even going as far as to get married soon after. Unfortunately, their unexpected happy existence is threatened when Pierre begins hanging around more and more, until Benoit is convinced they are having an affair behind his back. If not for the mature performances by the three leads, especially Charlotte Gainsbourg, "Love Etc." would be an almost completely worthless drama, but as is, it is more frustrating than anything. From the very beginning, it is obvious that the actors are playing characters who are well below their own personal intelligence, as they all are forced to do unlikely, at times cruel, things to one another. A few subtle, quiet moments sneak in every once and a while, but the asinine screenplay, by Julian Barnes, destroys all signs of cinematic promise.
© 1999 by Dustin Putman