Thursday, February 11, 2016

Puppy Love Snarling: He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not (2002)

He Loves Me...He Loves me Not (À La Folie... Pas Du Tout) (France, 2002)
Rating: ****
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan, Isabelle Carré

And lo and behold, the one film that puts me off dating for another ten years.

Young and perky Angelique is an art student whimsically in love with an older gentleman named Loic, who is the local cardiologist. We watch her plays a daring affair with the married man by sneaking in presents, love notes, pink roses and, once, share a small date with him during a fancy party, much to the disapproval of her concerned friends. But just as it seems their romance couldn't get any more bittersweet, Loi'c pregnant wife had a miscarriage and Loic apparently abandons Angelique all the way. Depressed by his "betrayal", Angelique goes through many desperate means to have him back, destroying her own life, as well as the lives of other people along the way.

To call À La Folie a horror film is only half right since it was more of a dark deconstruction of your typical love story, before becoming a gritty and unsettling reconstruction into thriller territory.
The face of evil? Hardly.
Until halfway into the film...
Right at the beginning of the film, we are lead to think that this is going to be your sweet puppy-love type of plot and it seems steadying on that direction until upsetting and disturbing elements such as affairs, miscarriages, and stalkings start to make its way into the narrative. By then, À La Folie goes intense, unpredictable, and incredibly scary as the once sweet Angelique devolves into a desperate and dangerous character, lost in her own delusions that her love will come back for her.

A lot of this effectiveness goes on the talents involved since À La Folie is dry on the bloodletting department, with all but one scene of violence implied; Audrey Tautou plays one of the leads, Angelique, with much passion and quirkiness that seems as adorable as her other well-known role, Amelie from the 2001 French film of the same name. However, unlike her character there, Tautou had more range to work in this production as, again, we see her character degrade into a manic state, which works quite a lot on bringing out the creepiness of her situation seeing how pretty, talented, and seemingly sane this character was. Samuel Le Bihan plays the good doctor Loi'c who, much like Tautou, was given a wide array of characterization from a simple line-less plot piece, to a man soon to be haunted by paranoia and desperation to figure out who is destroying his life.

These two were never really seen interacting with one another in the same shot, which plays a devilish importance to the movie's twist halfway into the run and perhaps another good reason why the film worked so well thanks to these casts; without spoiling much (Unless you already saw it yourself. Or the trailer. Or read about it somewhere), the film decided to do an approach interconnecting Angelique's and Loic's perspective which drastically change the pitch of the film until the end. It also made repeated viewings of this film quite a treat since, once you knew what is really going on, À La Folie works so much better as the thriller it was meant to be, playing with winks and nods to the audience for the upcoming horrors abound.

Things ultimately wrap up rather calmly, with both characters somehow ending up recovering from something but the real horror continues and lingers on even once the end credits roll, especially when another chilling reveal was made for us to ponder about. With all of this, little violence is to be expected, which is definitely a breath of fresh air from all the recent violent French horror, but still make way for the same messed-up psychological torture and scares the European country is sort of  known for. Heartily recommended!

1 baby implied miscarried
1 female implied dead from a heart seizure
Total: 2

No comments:

Post a Comment