At the movies
I went with my best friend Karen last night to see the French film, Mes amis mes amours.
We were glad of a chance to catch up, and, afterwards, even gladder we hadn't had to pay for the tickets.
Directed by Lorraine Levy from the book written by her brother, Mark, it's a very light (as in lacking) French romantic comedy set in an apparent French enclave somewhere in South Kensington.
Is there really a community of French people living in London with their own little shops and restaurants and even tradesmen speaking French? More poignantly: if you were from Paris, which is at least slightly grand with decent food and elegant residents — despite the rudeness, the toilets and all the spitting — why would you choose to live in grotty old London?
The plot is watery: Mathias (on the left, played by Vincent Lindon), a loser bookseller, decides to move from Paris to London to be with his best mate, Antoine (right, Pascal Elbe), the ever-so-anal architect who is (unsurprisingly) divorced and lives with his young son.
Mathias's daughter also lives in London with Mathias's ex-wife, who is cool, coiffed and soignee, and appears to have a high-powered career as a cultural attache to the French consul (the usual partners of loser booksellers, bien sur). She's also bonking the boss, we later learn. The signs are all there: she is not Une Bonne Personne.
Poor old Mathias still has the hots for her, but as soon as he turns up in London, she high-tails it back to Paris.
The rest of the movie involves Mathias and Antoine's moving in together, sharing child-minding and housekeeping — think Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple, with more than a heavy handful of Notting Hill. And falling in love with attractive French girls also adrift in London.
There's a supporting cast of wacky, colourful and friendly French characters all living and working in the same picturesque street. With very few cars, pedestrians, and little litter or dog poo. Work that out!
Mathias looks like Lou Reed crossed with a basset hound. Antoine is absurdly neurotic. They are both heavy smokers, very silly, and get their girls in the end.
One plus: it's set mainly in winter, so there are some nice woollen scarves to look out for, and some pretty cool boots.
2.5 stars out of 5.