Revue Anaïs in Love – cerebral eroticism and summer chills in French adultery farce | Movies
An amusing snapshot of millennial turmoil, Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s funny debut adds to the recent crop of films where young women are still running around, many on screen. Lamented by an ex-boyfriend as a “bulldozer”, Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) wanders through every human interaction with the force of a whirlwind. Always going back and forth, she goes off on idiosyncratic tangents as if oblivious to the bewildered other party.
Such high-dose personality quirks could quickly become boring and narcissistic without Demoustier’s effervescent charm. A graduate student who perpetually dodges the deadlines of her doctoral thesis, Anaïs is resistant to commitment, to the challenge of wrapping things up and concluding things; she is constantly on the lookout for the next emotional boost. After a disappointing date with Daniel (Denis Podalydès), a publisher twice her age, she suddenly passes the torch to her companion Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), a beautiful novelist whose writing strangely resonates with the neuroses of Anais. Just when Anaïs manages to seduce the older woman at a writing retreat, Daniel shows up unannounced. What ensues has a touch of classic French adultery farce, but the genuine bond between the two women also hints at a possible finish line for Anaïs’ relentless sprint.
If the stakes here are a little too low to elevate the film to the rank of substantive work, the pleasures to be gleaned are numerous, including the beauty of the French countryside and the cerebral eroticism of literary exchanges. Her portrayal of abortion is also refreshing: the act is neither melodramatic nor moralistic, but simply a decision for a woman to make. Bubbly and bubbly, the film feels like a glass of chilled lemonade on a hot day, leaving us with a pleasant reminder of the thrills summer can bring.