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Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic
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Madam Nadine manages with pride the "Vénus beauté" Salon which offers relaxation, massage and make-up services. The owner and her three beauticians: Samantha, Marianne and Angèle are pros. Contrary to her friend Marianne, who still dreams of the big day, Angèle no longer believes in love. Marie, the youngest of the three employees, discovers love in the hands of a sixty year-old former pilot, who risks everything... Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
This story revolves around the employees of a beauty shop in Paris. It's not quite an ensemble piece because there is a main character.
Nathalie Baye plays a 40-year-old woman, Angèle, who is going from one fling to another. Angèle doesn't believe in love anymore. She thinks it only brings pain and that love is a form of slavery. She's a very attractive woman but looks sad all the time and her friends notice.
Audrey Tautou plays Marie, another worker at the salon, and she's a plain country girl who starts having an affair with a much older man. Mathilde Seigner plays Samantha, who is tough on the outside and has lots of boyfriends, but is hurting inside (she tries to kill herself on Christmas Eve).
But Angèle is the focus of this film. We see her sitting with a man in a train station cafe at the beginning of the film, confident that he's enamored with her, but he brushes her aside, saying it was just an affair, and walks away. Then Madame Nadine, the beauty shop owner, tells her she needs to fix her appearance and apply more makeup, which only adds to her depression.
Along comes Antoine, a much younger man, who saw the spat at the train station and who follows Angèle back to where she works. He approaches her and professes his love for her, really his obsession for her. Angèle isn't interested in a relationship and Antoine isn't interested in casual sex, so things don't look good for the pair. But as the story progresses, she opens up to him and by the end they're both in love with each other.
I would have liked the film more than I did if the character of Antoine had been different. He's got a good physique and is much younger than Angèle, so I can see why she'd be attracted to him, and she's a good-looking woman, so I can see him being attracted to her, but as two people, I didn't really see the chemistry between them. Antoine seemed a bit too immature to make this romance seem true. But he is open and tender, and Angèle is vulnerable and needs some extra care, so maybe that's the key.
Anyway, the characters were all interesting and the acting well-done. There was a tender poignancy in the relationships between the people in the beauty shop and their customers, as well as some pretty funny scenes, and the film explores some adult themes about the nature of love and relationships, so I would definitely recommend this one even if it might have been better.
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