He Loves Me . . . He Loves Me Not

Director: Laetitia Colombani

An impish young art student’s dark side emerges when a romance with a married doctor doesn’t meet her expectations in this frosty thriller by first-time writer-director Laetitia Colombani. The film, which marks Audrey Tautou’s first leading role since Amelie, turns on an intellectual gimmick in the vein of Memento, weaving down sinister byways, the better to click with satisfying symmetry.
Set in sunny Bordeaux, the film starts with the adorable Angelique (Tautou) charming a reluctant florist into delivering a single rose to the object of her affectionsoLoic Le Garrec (Samuel Le Bihan), a cardiologist with a thriving practice and a pregnant wife (Isabelle Carre). An orphan whose father was also an artist, Angelique wins a scholarship to exhibit at a group show in Paris, despite her tendency to reproduce Loic in her pictures instead of the model the rest of the class is sketching. Even though she’s furious when Loic stands her up for a getaway trip to Florence, Angelique takes drastic steps to defend her beloved when one of his female patients publicly accuses him of molestation. Despondent for various reasons, Angelique turns on the gas in the kitchen where she’s house-sitting and awaits the inevitable.
Then, at the film’s 40-minute mark, everything the audience has been shown so far passes before her eyes in rapid-reverse, arriving at the opening scene in the florist shop. From that point on, we see the same eventsobut this time from Loic’s point of view. The contrast is as clever as it is unnerving. There are several false endings, but the final denouement is definitely worth the trip.
France, 2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby/dts digital stereo. 95 mins.

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