Not Lookin’ for Love
|Didine (Géraldine Pailhas) claims to love her single lifestyle.|
Didine, a new film directed by Vincent Dietschy and written by Anne Le Ny (writer and director of the recent Ceux qui Restent) is a pleasingly quirky look at the well-worn subject of a young single woman looking for love.
The eponymous heroine’s strange first name is short for Alexandrine (to give her a touch of poetry?), which, significantly, only one person in her entourage uses. Played by Géraldine Pailhas in her first starring role, Didine is an attractive, slightly spacey and rather frumpily dressed (this is highly meaningful in a French film) young woman who claims to be perfectly happy to be single. If she’s attracted to a man, she sleeps with him – “ Je suis une fille facile,” she tells a lover right at the beginning of the film – but she never calls him back. She vaunts the joys of her single lifestyle to her depressive friend Muriel (Julie Ferrier), who has just attempted suicide because her boyfriend has left her.
The boyfriend, François (singer/songwriter Benjamin Biolay, another young actor to watch), and Didine remain friends and are visibly attracted to each other. This causes tension between all three of them and the new man who enters Didine’s life: Nicolas (Christopher Thompson). She meets the latter through her accidentally acquired new volunteer job working for an association that sends visitors to the homes of older people living alone.
It is obvious to everyone except Didine that she has fallen for Nicolas, whose bitter elderly aunt (Edith Scob) she continues to visit regularly even though the aunt wants nothing to do with her.
While some of the situations in the film, with its judicious mix of comedy and tragedy, seem ridiculous (e.g., the sexy young woman who volunteers for the association because she wants to be adopted by an older man), the characters and emotions generally feel real, only rarely tipping slightly too far toward the saccharine end of the scale. The cast is fine, and Didine’s gradual flowering as she opens up to life and other people and finds some success in her career as a textile designer is subtly and convincingly depicted. You’ll leave the cinema wanting to fall in love.
© 2008 Paris Update
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