Toi et Moi

Photo Romance

March 14, 2006By Heidi EllisonFilm

The conceit of Toi et Moi (You and Me) is that one of the main characters, the pretty, ditzy Ariane (Julie Depardieu), is the author of Toi et Moi, a roman-photo, a sort of comic-book version of a Harlequin romance, with simple bodice-ripping stories illustrated by carefully staged photos of actors looking hurt, surprised, shocked, angry, etc. Ariane herself is involved in a star-crossed romance with the rich, handsome Farid, who refuses to be pinned down to a serious relationship and knows how to play her like a yo-yo.

Ariane’s sister, Lena (Marion Cotillard), is a serious, shy cello player who lacks confidence in herself. She meets Mark (Jonathan Zaccaï) a dashing violin soloist who encourages her to break away from the orchestra and become a soloist herself. He also falls in love with her, of course, and in spite of her timidity and the fact that she lives with a nice-guy teacher named François (Eric Berger), she can’t resist having an affair with him.

Meanwhile, Pablo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a handsome Catalonian mason who is working on Ariane’s building, is falling in love with her and keeps popping up unexpectedly at her window.

All of this romantic activity is absorbed by Ariane and transformed into her roman-photo (with lots of wish fulfillment added: Ariane catches Farid cheating on her and shoots him; Farid repents and swears eternal love, etc.). These are the best moments of the movie, with the actors frozen in dramatic poses against surreal, candy colored backgrounds.

Director Julie Lopes-Curval could have used this device to greater effect – played it for real laughs, for instance, instead of mild chuckles. Toi et Moi wants to be a light, sophisticated romance, and while it’s all fairly entertaining and amusing, and cast with appealing actors, it is almost as two-dimensional and predictable as a roman-photo. The only surprise is that we aren’t sure if the ending belongs to the film or to the roman-photo.


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