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Delicacy - Film Review

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A handful of the 2012 French Film Festival audience favourites have now received general theatrical release; these include the stunning Café de Flore, the whimsical Les émotifs anonymes, and now, the affecting La délicatesse.

Directed David and Stéphane Foenkinos, La délicatesse is a beautiful tale of loss, grief and re-birth. It is based on David Foenkinos' 2009 best selling novel of the same name. The comedy drama stars the beautiful and enigmatic Audrey Tautou as Nathalie Kerr, a young woman, who for a brief moment, has it all; she has landed her dream job, is newly married to the love of her life, François (Pio Marmaï), and hopes to have children one day. All is perfect, until François is suddenly taken away from her after being fatally injured in an automobile accident.

While friends and family rally around a shocked Nathalie in the immediate aftermath of François' death, she decides she will forever remain this way. Her grief is her connection to François. Days pass, weeks pass and years pass, yet Nathalie remains the same, hopelessly devoted to a man who is no longer there. She invests all her time and energy into her work and is promoted to a managerial position, but her workaholic lifestyle remains the subject of office gossip. Even Nathalie's sleazy married boss Charles (Bruno Todeschini), continuously pursues her, but she declares she has no interest and no desire to be in a relationship again.

Nathalie then befriends office subordinate Markus Lundl (portrayed by Belgian comic François Damiens). Their growing friendship is swiftly met with disapproval by Nathalie's co-workers, as they can't understand why she would have an interest in a tall, balding Swede - particularly the rejected Charles. However, their taunts and ridicule only push the 'beautiful' Nathalie and 'ugly' Markus closer together - even though neither she or he are quite sure what their 'relationship' is.

This tale of rebirth is exquisite. Tautou is wonderful as Nathalie - a character who we follow in three distinct acts; young love, lost love and new love. Damiens is also fantastic as Markus, a man who is genuinely terrified at the prospect of falling in love with Nathalie. As their relationship forms, he is completely aware of the repercussions and weary of those who knew Nathalie and François together as a 'perfect couple' .

Unexpected and lyrical are perhaps the best words to describe La délicatesse. It is a beautifully shot film, with colour and lighting playing an important role, but most affecting is the grand soundtrack by French singer and composer Émilie Simon - the stand-out being the haunting main theme "Mon Chevalier".

From the opening scene to the moving finale, La délicatesse is a poignant and touching tale of emotional healing.

Highly recommended.

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Why? A beautiful tale of loss, grief and re-birth.
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