REVIEW: Rosalie Blum
Noémie Lvovsky, Kyan Khojandi, Alice Isaaz
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In time, we may look back on Rosalie Blum as this year’s Amelie.
Rosalie Blum is one of those out of the box, come-from-nowhere film hits. In time, we may look back on it as this year’s Amelie. Fist time director, Julien Rappeneau, who adapted the film from a popular graphic novel, brings a lot of freshness and pizazz to this deceptively simple tale. Not for nothing was this the most attended and feted film at the recent French Film Festival.
The eponymous Rosalie (Noémie Lvovsky) is a middle aged single woman living a quiet life. She works in a store and is kind to all the customers. She doesn’t seem too worried about the shape of her life. She is placid on the outside but may perhaps have a “past.” This is contrasted to the other protagonist: local hairdresser, Vincent Machot (Kyan Khojandi). He is similarly single, but his more adventurous cousin is always trying to pair him up, and Vincent is patient and long-suffering but not fulfilled. One day, Vincent spies Rosalie, and is immediately intrigued by some quality that she has. Being a shy guy, he cannot approach her directly, but the more that he follows her and fails to say something, the more it feels like stalking. Does Rosalie realise that she is being watched? If so, what motives does she impute to her handsome shadow? When Rosalie invokes the help of her younger cousin, it becomes a comedic game of cat and mouse.
It is important not to worry too much about the plot (delightfully twisted though it might be), because here it is all about the treatment. The back stories are economically realised. The realisation of ordinary people that you could know and love is spot on, and the walking pace suits the whole very well. The simple cat and mouse games that Rosalie and Vincent end up playing are really fun to watch. Rappeneau never strives for shock value or effect. Instead, the sense of comic absurdity being just one or two misunderstandings away makes the film both believable and unbelievable at more or less the same time. It is a difficult balancing act, but when it is done as well as this, you just have to surrender to its charm and humanity.