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Michèle, 20 years old, feels terrible after having broken up with her boy-friend. She meets Francois, who's a veterinarian and jewish. Michèle decides to convert into Judaism because she has to believe in something, if not in someone. Written by
Audrey Tatou Makes This Movie Swell (If Not Great)
Audrey Tatou, for certain France's most charismatically engaging young actress today, made "God is Great, I'm Not" before "Amelie" projected her to international acclaim. This release, coming quietly after the famous film, has had little if any U.S. theater exposure but it's a DVD that cries out for word-of-mouth boosterism.
Tatou plays Michele, a self-proclaimed "top model" (well she clearly does have a successful career going). More to the point she a 100% certifiable flake who flits from religion to religion seeking wisdom and, perhaps, a sense of belonging.
After a party she meets veterinarian Francois (Edouard Baer). A very short acquaintanceship leads to a one-night stand ending in a dashed ambulance run to the hospital because Michele has OD'd. Attempted suicide? A mistake? It's a mystery but Michele's closest friend, Valerie the Novice Therapist (Julie Depardieu), convinces Francois he has some continuing responsibility for Michele. Just because of one night of hot sex? Well, it is France and the idea has a certain charm. Anyway, without it the film would end at this point. Francois has a quiet accommodating quality: he's the kind that a Michele will always enrapture.
Michele falls in love with Francois, a fellow comfortable as a "secular Jew." In his case that means he doesn't even want his apartment house neighbors to know his heritage. Absurd, declaims Michele, who proceeds to noisily attempt to affix a "mezuzah" to his front door (a Jewish talismanic article that observant members of that religion invariably have at each door in their homes sans the bathroom).
Anyway, the real fun is that Michele, bored with her past religious explorations, decides to study Judaism both with a rabbi and also in a class for possible converts - but only with Francois safely sitting beside her and actively participating. He IS besotted!
There's a lot of good humor as Francois allows himself to be drawn into Judaism - but only so far. Meanwhile Michele gets more serious about not only studying the religion but observing its very restrictive dietary precepts and other controlling laws.
So much for the basic plot-anything more would spoil the fun. But director Pascale Bailly has insured that no viewer need be Jewish to enjoy madcap Tatou's foray into that ancient religion.
Tatou has the most marvelous ability to instantly telegraph her feelings through economical but mesmerizing facial expressions. Born a century earlier, she would have been a silent film star to rival the Gish sisters, Pola Negri and many others.
She's the treat who makes this offbeat comedy (with a dollop of serious relationship issues) worth watching.
So rent it!
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