Romantics Anonymous

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS. Starring:  Isabelle Carre, Benoit Poelvoorde, Christine Demarest, and Lorella Cravotta. Directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris. Rated M (Sex scene). 80 min.

This delightful French, subtitled comedy tells the story of Jean-Rene (Benoit Poelvoorde) and Angelique (Isabelle Carre), who both work in a chocolate factory in the heart of France. He owns it, and she sells the chocolate. Their attachment is fuelled by a shared passion for chocolate, and they both fall in love with each other.

Without really admitting it to themselves or to others, both Jean-Rene and Angelique are pathologically shy. Their main problem in life is to overcome their total lack of self-confidence, and neither can face the consequences of revealing their feelings to anyone, let alone to each other.  

They are too shy to manage a date outside their work situation. Both Jean-Rene and Angelique are hyper-sensitive and over-emotional and have a pathological fear of being invaded by others and having their privacy shattered. It is completely ironic that the film commences with Angelique singing a song from the “Sound of Music” (1965), titled “I have Confidence In Me”.

Angelique attends an Emotional-Anonymous meeting for people with personality problems, and Jean-Rene is undergoing therapy separately for his emotional conflicts. Their shyness is paralysing, and both have a dreaded fear of human contact. The film’s humour is not riotous, but disarmingly gentle, and it achieves some extraordinarily tender moments of pathos. What finally brings the two together is their awareness that the other shares a similar problem.

This is a sweet, light and original film that is well-directed, and it humanly portrays terrible insecurity. Despite the pathos of the subject matter that the movie deals with, the film is funny and immensely likeable.


Romantics Anonymous (Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting)

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