Delicacy (2011)

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It must be a bit difficult at times to be Audrey Tautou. The French actress was elevated to a state of instant adoration and stardom with her glorious turn in the much-loved Amelie but she’s never really managed to get out from under the shadow of that career high. Oh, she’s tried. But everyone knows that it’s easier to put Audrey Tautou’s name on a movie poster with “the star of Amelie” alongside it than it is to put her name with “the person who went along with Tom Hanks on The Da Vinci Code” or “the star of A Very Long Engagement“. Now I’m not giving my own opinion on either of those two movies, I’m simply saying that to many, many people the lovely Audrey Tautou will always be Amelie.

So when she decides to take the starring role in a romantic drama with some comedy moments throughout it could mean one of two things. Either the lady has accepted her fate and decided to forever be “that girl from Amelie” OR the material just seemed like something very good and a bit different from some other movies, despite superficial similarities. Thankfully, it’s the latter.

Miss Tautou plays Nathalie Kerr, a woman very happy with her position in life. She has a lovely man in her life and a great job that she does ever so well. Sadly, the balance is shifted when tragedy strikes and Nathalie ends up completely throwing herself into her work. She fends off advances from her boss but also finds herself, inexplicably, falling for a Swedish co-worker.

Written by David Foenkinos, who also directed the film with Stephane Foenkinos, Delicacy just somehow manages to find a sweet spot in the middle ground that stops everything from being a little too quirky and heavy-handed while also staying away from the bland and completely cliched. Despite the heightened sense of style and romance that some moments have, the movie rings true with a lot of the core content. It’s surprisingly believable in the way it shows someone dealing with a major heartache and the strange and unexpected decisions made in that aftermath.

Tautou is, of course, a delight in the lead role but she’s given fantastic support from Francois Damiens (who is simply superb as Markus), Bruno Todeschini, Melanie Bernier, Josephine De Meaux and Pio Marmai as well as everyone else involved. They may not win over any hardened cynics who will view the whole thing with disdain but they embody ordinary people in an extraordinary situation that has already happened, sadly, to many people in real life.

It’s certainly not the most startlingly unique movie that you will ever see but there’s a surprising amount of stuff here that feels a lot fresher than you’d expect it to and, overall, it’s an enjoyable experience.

Delicacy is available to buy on DVD and blu-ray from 6th August and is a rather delightful, and delicate (yes, I said it), little treat.

DIRECTOR: DAVID FOENKINOS, STEPHANE FOENKINOS
WRITER: DAVID FOENKINOS
STARS: AUDREY TAUTOU, FRANCOIS DAMIENS, BRUNO TODESCHINI, MELANIE BERNIER, JOSEPHINE DE MEAUX, PIO MARMAI
RUNTIME: 108 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: FRANCE

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

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