This sub-titled French film is adapted loosely from Boris Vian’s 1947 cult novel Froth on the Daydream and is a romantic drama set in Paris, France.
Gondry’s version is the third film adaptation of Vian’s novel. Colin (Romain Duris) leads a carefree life in a converted train. He is a handsome, idealistic young man, and he is rich. He does not need to work to have the life he wants. He loves the cooking of his French cook, Nicolas (Omar Sy), and is attached to his French friend, Chick (Gad Elmaleh), who tells him that he has met a girl named Alise (Aissa Maiga) to whom he is attracted.
Chick also tells Colin that he has a friend called Chloe (Audrey Tautou), and Colin falls deliriously in love with Chloe when he meets her at one of Chick’s parties.
He marries her, but Chloe falls seriously ill during her honeymoon and as her condition worsens with time, the relationship between Chick and Alise starts to change its course. The film shows a parallel between love that is blossoming between Colin and Chloe while reality presses hard upon it, and love that deteriorates between Chick and Alise, when reality does not impede it. Colin and Chloe know that they have their “whole lives to get things right”.
The scene is set for a romantic movie that steps boldly from reality into fantasy. Its inventive imagery portends the inevitable in what will happen to Colin and Chloe. For example, there is a pile-up of skaters, while people with bird-like heads look on; we are shown glimpses of an ammunitions-factory in which weapons are heated by naked men; and Colin’s apartment begins to shrink as Chloe’s health deteriorates. As the imagery accumulates, the film becomes darker and more contemplative. Its images have the combined effect of haunting the viewer with death approaching.
The film begins by being a frothy piece, and develops into a movie of a very different kind. At all times, the film’s images are richly inventive. For example, a wedding procession takes place under water; complex dance moves are aided by legs that suddenly grow in length; and the couple take an aerial trip above Paris on a mechanical cloud. Gondry’s love of technology dictates the pace.
Audrey Tautou is a delight to watch, and the imagery of the movie never fails to be involving even in its dark as well as its joyful moments. The movie is playful, melancholic and highly imaginative - Peter Sheehan, ACOFB
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, Gad Elmaleh, Aissa Maiga, and Omar Sy. Directed by Michel Gondry. Rated MA15+. Restricted. (Mature themes). 85 min.