All About Them

 

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Three friends find their lives impossibly complicated by their secret passions for each other in this provocative, credible, funny, sexy, sensitive, original and terribly moving comedy.

 

The ‘them’ are Mélodie, Micha and Charlotte, three close friends who are concealing their infidelity from each other. In short, they are three people who love each other passionately, but don’t know it. On paper, Jérôme Bonnell's All About Them resembles a Feydeau farce, but this being a French film it is all completely plausible. That is, the comedy earns its laughter. At this time of year, when the major Hollywood studios are trotting out their self-conscious ‘Oscar-worthy’ dramas, one can forget how blissfully entertaining a genuinely good film can be.

 

All About Them, destined for a negligible release, is everything one could hope for: it is provocative, funny, grown-up, sexy, sensitive, original, unexpected, extremely moving and, within its own parameters, entirely believable. When its most farcical sequence culminates with a laugh-out-loud flourish, one forgives the comic extravagance because it actually makes sense. It certainly heeds the words of the writer Neil Gaiman: “Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn’t.” Following major roles in Elles and The New Girlfriend, Anaïs Demoustier has established herself as a jewel of current French cinema. A 28-year-old actress from Lille (where All About Them is set), she recalls Isabelle Huppert in her youth and displays the same girl-next-door innocence concealing a spring of libertinism. Not unlike the flustered but insightful caseworker played by Charlotte Gainsbourg in this year’s Samba, her Mélodie is a lawyer who is attracted to her best friend’s boyfriend, Micha (Félix Moati). While actually living with Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck), Micha is more demonstrative in his feelings for Mélodie, although he doesn’t know that Mélodie and Charlotte are also lovers. Only Mélodie herself is aware of the three-way dichotomy (a genuine trichotomy) and is loath to unsettle the status quo... 

 

 All About Them

Three and proud: Félix Moati, Sophie Verbeeck and Anaïs Demoustier

 

One may wonder what Mélodie and Charlotte see in Micha (he resembles Ben Whishaw, in a wishy-washy Whishaw way), but then one can never know what lovers see in each other. He tells Mélodie: “The less I understand her [Charlotte], the more I love her,” which is just the sort of profound nonsense a twentysomething Frenchman might say. If the film calls to mind Jules et Jim, it is not above paying homage to Truffaut’s classic, although it trumps the former by containing the most touching sex scene I think I have ever seen.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON


Cast: Anaïs Demoustier, Félix Moati, Sophie Verbeeck.

 

Dir Jérôme Bonnell, Pro Edouard Weil and Genevieve Lemal, Screenplay Bonnell and Maël Piriou, Ph Pascal Lagriffoul, Pro Des Eugénie Collet and Florence Vercheval, Ed Julie Dupré, Music Mike Higbee, Costumes Carole Gérard.

 

Rectangle Productions/Wild Bunch/France 3 Cinéma/Scope Pictures-Swipe Films.
86 mins. France/Belgium. 2015. Rel: 27 November 2015. Cert. 15.