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by Margaret Chrystall
The French have a talent for light romantic comedy that somehow touches on the heart of everything important in life. Admittedly they do it with beautiful people in perfectly modern, stylish homes, glamorous clothes and stimulating, high-paying jobs.
But as a fantasy, Quantum Love offers a real dilemma at its heart. What if your perfect life is disturbed by a chance meeting with someone who rocks your world? How would you deal with deciding which way to go – trashing your current way of life for the chance of perfection or side-stepping an opportunity that will never come again?
Director Lisa Azuelos – who worked with actress Sophie Marceau on the hit 2008 film LOL when Marceau won the Monte Carlo Comedy Film Festival Jury Prize for best actress – reunites with her again. She brings in fellow beloved French star Francois Cluzet as the love interest and Azuelos also plays Pierre’s wife Anne and brings a nice sense of fear and reproach to her performance.
But everything hinges on the spark that Marceau as Elsa and Cluzet as Pierre ignite in their performances as the pair meeting by chance at Rennes Book Fair, so convincing that we see their friends and - even the receptionist at a London hotel – register that these two just click.
Both characters are reluctant to interrupt their real lives at first, so don’t swap phone numbers – and Elsa has a rule about not getting involved with married men.These two both embrace modern life. And Elsa, with her electric cigarette, finding out from her kids about buffering and streaming, monitoring her daughter’s Facebook, is every inch the Portrait Of A Woman Of Today – the headline above the article about her in the newspaper.
But Elsa isn’t a kid any more and has lived a bit as we see in the passion she and her friends bring to their performance of Somebody Else’s Guy (part of a great soundtrack as flagged up by festival director Paul Taylor) at their nightclub 40th birthday celebration. Elsa is mildly bothered by dating a 25-year-old, her fellow writer Hugo. She grumpily criticises her kids for using “chillax” complaining it's not a real word. And she values traditional treasures, such as the copy of writer Stendhal’s The Red And The Black, signed by the writer himself – and the perfect present from Hugo and her for their publisher friend.
So will Elsa and Pierre choose reality or romantic eternity – which parallel life is the perfect ending for the film and Elsa’s book Quantum Love?
What happens? A lawyer still in love with his wife and a commited family man meets free spirit Elsa, a writer with a lover half her age and a busy family and social life. They click instantly, but let fate decide if they will meet again. And when their attraction verges on obsession, they have to decide the next step.
Best quote? A critic describing Elsa's new book "It's Freud meets Ricky Gervais". Or is it Pierre’s wife touching her long blonde curls asking him: “My hair isn’t too Louis Quatorze?”
Who for? Anyone who enjoys sophisticated, contemporary French romance, where everyone is glamorous, wealthy and ripe for temptation, mild flirtation - but more?
Quick review: Sophie Marceau and Francois Cluzet sparkle and are perfectly convincing as a couple who just click on a first meeting, but are unwilling to let anything other than fate reunite them. Then fate decides to play along…