Parisian love (Film Thoughts: A Faithful Man/L’homme Fidele)

ffmLouis Garrell’s ‘A Faithful Man’ (L’homme Fidele) is a French rom-com farce, and it’s very French. It’s set in Paris, and it’s funny in a weird way. The film starts with Marianne (Laetitia Casta) telling her lover Abel (Garrell) that she is pregnant, by another man’s baby, and that other man is their close friend Paul. I personally think this is horrid, but Garrell treats the matter with a light touch, and we see Abel go off his merry way. Then years later, we find out Paul has died, and Abel and Marianne resume their relationship. First of all, I would probably still be bitter and have my guard up but I guess the French are a little more flippant about these things, and we are now supposed to root for them to be together. But then, the child, Joseph, is one of those precocious childs who tells Abel that he thinks Marianne poisoned his father. So we have now a bit of murder mystery in the plot. That sounds like a lot of plot for a 75 minute film, but it’s all compact. I haven’t even mentioned Eve, Paul’s younger sister, who has been infatuated with Abel since she was a young kid – and honestly, all this zaniness kind of works. I found myself chuckling and smiling, and swooning over Garrell with his tousled hair and puppy dog eyes. As far as rom-coms go, this is sweet and skews more old-fashioned, but there’s a modern element to it. To me, it felt like I was in Paris eavesdropping on these gorgeous people’s lives, and sure – Paris in Summer? Delightful.

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