Director: Regis Roinsard Cast: Romain Duris, Feodor Atkine, Deborah Francois, Bernice Bejo, Shaun Benson Genre; Comedy Country of Origin: France 2012 Language: French with English subtitles 111mins. Rating: ****
'A wonderful feel good romantic comedy that bubbles and froths. Refreshing and utterly charming.
Rose Pamphyle (Deborah Francois) lifts the typewriter out of the window of her father's grocery shop in a small town in Normandy, places it on a table and slowly types her name with two fingers. So begins Rose's magical journey from a small Normandy village to conquer the world.
It's 1958 and Rose joins the queue for interviews for a secretarial post at a small insurance company in Lisieux headed by Louis Echard (Romain Duris), the ultimate chauvinist in love with himself and a Gitanes.
Rose gets the job and Louis, the highly competitive sportsman who never made the championship podium wants Rose to be coached in competitive typing.
Factor in Marie Taylor (Berenice Bejo), Louis's childhood sweetheart who met and married his best friend Bob Taylor (Shaun Benson), an American Gene Kelly look-alike and the haunting memories of his time in the French Resistance and you have a romantic comedy of a professional relationship and the rocky road that their love takes.
'Populaire' is an impressive debut by writer-director Regis Roinsard. It's a movie packed with period charm and colour and reflects an almost innocent world before the doors open to the affluent consumer society. There's a feel good factor that resonates throughout and it oozes charm. It's an era of the Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Gene Kelly comedies of the 50's.
There's the ideal soundtrack by Bob and Emmanuel d'Orlando which is filled with French oldies by Jacqueline Bryer, Jack Ary and Les Chausett Noires the lead roles are perfect.
An utterly charming film.