The second Audrey Tautou flick to hit U.S. theatres in the last few weeks, this is a interesting psychological piece that roughly plays like a mix of RASHOMON, THE CRUSH, and RUN LOLA RUN. As weird as that sounds, it's an experiment that works more often than not.Tautou, whom I love, plays love-starved art student Angélique, who becomes obsessed with a handsome (and married) cardiologist after a chance encounter. The first half of the film is shown from her point of view, as she tries to court this charming but distant doctor (Samuel Le Bihan), who, for reasons not immediately clear, hardly seems aware she's alive. The second half is simply a replay of the first, this time seen through eyes of the doctor--and the material suddenly takes on a quite different, even sinister, tone. Is this a case of unrequited love or simply a stalker going nuts?
The film is essentially a feature-length interpretation of the age-old he said/she said dilemma, or perhaps of E. M. Forster's dictum "only connect." These are two people who live in different worlds; tragically, neither is even aware of it. She's in love with her knight in shining armor, while he can't even figure out who's sending him all those cryptic love-letters. Their conflict is alternately funny and sad; director Laetitia Colombani hits both notes expertly. The double-tracked structure works well, as it gives each participant equal air time; and it never seems gimmicky, as it sometimes did in RUN LOLA RUN.
Tautou has sometimes been accused of depending too much on her beaming ingenue charm, but here that lit-up smile works in the film's favor. As the story progresses, she becomes creepier by the minute, her starry-eyed expression looking more demented as her grip on reality loosens.The storyline drags in the third act; I have the impression that the whole thing could have ended five or ten minutes before it did. But on the whole, it holds up as a highly original study in romantic psychology.