Laissons Lucie Faire!

If Eric Rohmer were to remake Pauline on the Beach or A Summer’s Tale as a more outgoing comedy, it would look something like Leave It to Lucie!, a delightful tale of youthful manners set on the southern coast of France. As wispy as a snowflake, this self-styled ‘divertissement sentimental’ gets by almost totally on the charm of its leads, Marie Gillain and writer-director Emmanuel Mouret. Gillain has rarely been more naturally sexy as Lucie, a young woman in her mid-twenties who models and sells swimsuits on the beach. She’s lived with Lucien (Mouret) for nine years but is now plagued by strange dreams that threaten their relationship.
Lucien, who’s studying to become a policeman, fails his exams but is immediately hired by the French secret service. He meets Jenny (Dolores Chaplin), a bright American kid who’s attracted by his gigolo-like demeanour and reckons he’s the one to relieve her of her virginity. She proposes an ‘adventure sensuelle’. When Lucie learns of the tryst, she boots Lucien out.
The film makes no pretence that the plot is not totally ridiculous, but plays it straight down the line as if all the goings-on are the most natural thing in the world. At base, the film is about the small lies that even devoted lovers tell each other, and how harmless secrets can escalate into full-scale trench warfare. Gillain is magical is the title role, and Mouret acquits himself well as the bumbling Lucien.
France, 2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo SR. 91 min.

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