Life & Culture

Anais in Love Film review: An affair to forget in an engaging but overlong romantic comedy

A free-spirited young woman embarks on an whirlwind affair with an esteemed literary editor twice her age in French writer-director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet's film


Anais in Love
Cert 15 | ★★★✩✩

A free-spirited but directionless young woman bulldozes her way into the lives of a well-to-do, intellectual, middle-aged couple in this engaging but overlong romantic comedy from French writer-director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet. Anais In Love stars prolific French actor Anaïs Demoustier —her life partner is French actor Jérémie Elkaïm who is of Jewish Moroccan origin. The film also stars Denis Podalydès, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (older sister of former French First Lady Carla Bruni) and Christophe Montenez.

Anais (Demoustier) is by her admission, a complete mess. Having just kicked her living partner Raoul (Montez) out of the elegant Parisian apartment they once shared, the young woman is not only unable to keep up with her rent, but also has no idea whether she is still in love with Raul, or whether she is ready for a new adventure.

To make matters worse, Anais learns that her mother’s cancer is back and that she might have to start chemo again.

After a chance meeting at a friend’s party, Anais embarks on an whirlwind affair with esteemed literary editor Daniel (Podalydès), who is not only twice her age but also happens to be in committed relationship with famous writer Emilie Ducret (Bruni Tedeschi).
The young woman soon finds herself more and more intrigued by her love rival, an obsession which culminates in an unexpected way.

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet delivers an enjoyable if contrived French comedy that often feels like a parody of the genre. Unlike Léonor Serraille’s Jeune Femme, Anais has none of the charm or the fully formed ideas of the film it is so desperate to emulate.

Instead, we are given a series of half-baked ideas that are floated around without being fully developed.

Demoustier’s irresistible brattish behaviour and disregard for those around her can be as insufferable as it is endearing, but the film doesn’t feel as if it has anything new to say, nor does it bring any kind of acceptable denouement.

Sadly Anais In Love often feels like a non-French-speaking French cinema enthusiast’s idea of what a good French romantic comedy should look and sound like. This inauthentic striving for effect is precisely what’s wrong with it.

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