Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Published May 2nd 2013
French movies to bring out the ooh la la
The French are renowned for l'amour. They embrace it, live it and literally love it. So it should come as no surprise that some of the best romantic comedies in the world have been created by the French film industry.
This is new film released in France in late 2012 and the rest of the world in 2013 is chic, charming, quirky and extremely romantic.
Set in the 1950s, it stars Deborah Francois as a naive young village girl with an amazing talent for typing, who under the guidance of her competitive handsome boss has a shot at winning the world speed-typing championships.
Stylish, witty and charming, this film directed by Regis Roinsart is reminiscent of the Billy Wilder and Doris Day-style romantic comedies of the 1950s/60s - but with a little more feminism that will keep modern day women happy.
The attractive leads are superb with wonderful chemistry and strong support from Berenice Bejo (star of The Artist) and Shaun Benson. There's the ups and downs as the pair, who dislike each other at first, battle to reach the finals and grow closer with competitors and ex-lovers throwing plenty of complications into the mix.
2. Love Me If You Dare (or Jeux d'enfants)
Love Me If You Dare is a vibrant love story with a difference
This film may date back to 2003 but it still feels as fresh and vibrant as when it was first released.
Starring Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet, the story follows the pair from childhood as their game of dare becomes more and more reckless and passionate through to adulthood.
Always too proud to lose out on the game, the friends keep missing opportunities to be together until a rather surreal but inventive and romantic finale.
Featuring lead stars at the height of their talent. Unmissable.
This may be a crime thriller, but at the root of the story is still a tender, heart-warming love story.
Alex is a grieving widow struggling to cope with the fact his wife was murdered by a serial killer after he was knocked out cold. Then eight years later, he gets an anonymous message showing that his wife is still alive.
It's a thrilling suspense as Alex retraces his steps to solve the mystery and understand the past.
Audrey Tautou became the darling of French film after her success as innocent Amelie (see later in this list), but this film from 2006 shows a much more provocative naughty side to the actress.
Tautou plays a far more manipulative woman who dates old millionaires to live the lifestyle she craves.
But a fling with waiter Jean, played by Gad Elmaleh, forces her to address her chosen path, especially when he becomes a gigolo to an older woman so he can hang out in her social circle and make her jealous.
Glamorous clothes and scenery (in the Cote D'Azur) add to the romance and humour in this gorgeous film.
Marion Cotillard is outstanding as a woman who has to cope with losing her legs in a terrible accident shortly after meeting a handsome suitor, played by Matthias Schoenaerts.
This may not sound like the premise of a great love story, but the tender relationship and romance that develops between the couple is an endearing story of finding love when life seems to be going against you.
A classic love story: Amelie
Back in 2000, this film stunned the world for its originality, romance and joie de vivre.
Words are not necessary in this heart-warming movie depicting the extraordinary life and love of Amélie in Paris as she spends her time making other people's lives better - but can she solve her own romantic dilemmas? Totally charming that will leave you smiling for days.
8. Three Colours White
This is the most upbeat of the Three Colours trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski.
It follows Karol, a Polish hairdresser, who is divorcing his French wife at the beginning of the story, which plunges him into the depths of despair with no money or job.
He takes on a series of attempts to get his life back together, which results in him actually winning the heart of his ex-wife.
Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this is not a love story in the traditional sense. It follows an elderly couple George and Anne and the love they show each other through difficult times in their 80s. From Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, it is heart-wrenching and focuses on the difficult topic of loving someone who is deteriorating in old age.
10. Coco Before Chanel
Audrey Tautou again as iconic fashion designer Chanel taking us through her early days and loves before setting the fashion world on fire.