Freelance writer and journalist based in west London.
Published March 28th 2013
Toe-tapping, Typing Comedy
It's the 1950's and in rural France, Rose Pamphyle looks set to marry the local mechanic and spend her days as a housewife. But little Rose has big dreams of escaping a life of drudgery, so she travels to Normandy to apply for a job as a receptionist at a firm owned by the dashing Louis Echard. Clumsy and lacking in style, Rose clearly isn't the right candidate – until Louis realises she's a speed demon on the typewriter. Louis, a former athlete, sees this as an opportunity to relive his glory days as a competitor and so ensues his attempt to get Rose to win the country's typing competitions.
Populaire is the first full length feature by director Regis Roinsard and it is a sweet, funny and stylish romantic comedy. Visually it's gorgeous and it uses colour beautifully. As Rose, Deborah Francois is all kookiness and wide-eyed innocence and does a good job in bringing out the humour. Romain Duris' Louis is all it's asked to be, the stereotypical, charming yet slightly tortured French businessman. Sean Benson and Berenice Bejo, (who won an Oscar for her work in The Artist) play married couple Bob and Marie, Louis's best and oldest friends who help him grow as the film progresses.
This film is utterly predictable; you know what will happen the minute the two leads meet, so much so that the love scene is entirely unnecessary, but it's a jolly ride nonetheless. The soundtrack is particularly noteworthy, bizarrely providing one of the funniest moments and causing much toe- tapping throughout. It adds to the pace of the film, helpful when its duration is 1h 51 and you can guess the ending. Populaire is not as good as some of the foreign cinematic offerings of late, but will leave you with a happy glow. Just right if you need some untaxing escapism on a rainy afternoon.