Director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s French romantic comedy shows that even the most daring women can find love
“When I really love someone, I don’t notice the others,” says Anaïs (Anais Demoustier) to her bonding partner as they lay in bed together. It’s an ominous phrasing for what’s to come for the writer/director’s protagonist. Charline Bourgeois Tacquetit’s new romantic comedy Anais in love. It is similar to that of Jochum Trier The worst person in the world, but while this film seems grounded, Anaïs has her head in the clouds. However, it’s hardly a blow to the film, as the over-optimism is used to its advantage as the character breaks many boundaries and hearts in her quest to find the one person who will become her everything.
Anaïs is a big mess. She’s chronically behind on everything, two months behind on rent, several months behind on the second part of her thesis project, pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want and doesn’t want the father of the baby. Having a conversation with her is even weirder because she deliberately avoids the topic in question to talk about herself. For example, a Korean couple comes to visit his apartment for an Airbnb stay, and Anias speaks to them in French (they don’t understand French) and tells them about his ability to love (they don’t care). That seems to be her goal in life: to find someone who doesn’t bother her, and she can love unconditionally and focus on nothing else.
No More Deadline
She then meets Daniel (Denis Podalydes) at a party of mutual friends, and from there they begin a passionless affair. He loves Anaïs but recognizes that things will not last because he is an older man and in a relationship with the famous author Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). While Daniel talks about Emilie, Anais falls in love with her. She’s smart, passionate, sophisticated, and has none of the awkwardness of Anais’ previous partners.
This initiates the desire to meet Emillie in person, and a chance encounter puts the duo in the same space where instant sparks fly between them. Anais’ curiosity turns into a mild obsession where she travels to a symposium in the French countryside with barely enough money for her stay, to be near Emilie, to become friends, and maybe more. . But when Daniel shows up at the symposium unannounced, will Anaïs get what she wants or will she go home empty-handed?
Anais in love is a character study of a beautiful ADHD maniacal pixie dream girl who everyone adores, and her bossy, reckless and selfish attitude makes her loved by others. It also provides comic relief as the audience laughs at Anais rather than with her because she’s so in her head that she doesn’t realize how clumsy she is. The woman gets everything she wants without adversity, which is cutesy, but does that make for a good story? Well, yes and no.
There is no reason to base this story on reality. I never thought anything happening was realistic. Anaïs lives in a world where she can get constant extensions of her rent payment, quit her job without being fired, and live virtually free in the French countryside by paying less than half of her stay. BUT, it strangely adds to the charm of it all. Since I know that Anaïs will win, do I want to see her end up with Emilie? Yes. Do I want to see two characters end up together despite the circumstances? Yes too. Is Bourgeois-Tacquet script gives us? Damn yes!
Anaïs and Emilie are the only couple that makes sense in this film, and Demoustier and Tedeschi are a smoking pair. They ooze sex appeal and charisma. Bourgeois-Tacquet intimately frames them with a series of close-ups and mid-shots that accentuate the growing sexual tension between the women. The film’s final scene is simply magical because it’s the perfect blend of action, acting, and score that’s what rom-coms are all about while understanding the bisexual experience.
Yeah, Anaïs gets whatever she wants, but sometimes it’s good to let women win. Understanding her pathos may take some work as the signs are subtle and it may seem like Anais isn’t learning anything new, but that’s not the case. In the end, she works, writes and is more self-aware. Anaïs realizes what it is like to lose and be rejected, even for a brief moment. In the end, we get a woman who has matured somewhat, and the catalyst for that was finding someone she could connect with beyond sex. Now, that’s real love.