Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
March 22, 2012
**1/2 (out of four)
French workplaces must really be hotbeds of free-flowing romantic opportunity. After Nathalie (Audrey “Amelie” Tautou) says it was inappropriate for her to kiss her colleague Markus (Francois Damiens), he says she sounds like an American. Meanwhile, Nathalie’s married boss (Bruno Todeschini) continues to express his interest and lament Nathalie seeing anyone else. Get to work, you lonely lovebirds!
Anyway, “Delicacy” actually does not revolve around a love triangle but a woman trying to put herself back together, as Nathalie spends three years up to her ears in work after the sudden death of her husband (Pio Marmai). Grief, and the process of moving on, isn’t easy to capture, and “Delicacy” struggles to access Nathalie’s slow transformation into someone who might again be able to open her heart to someone. It’s much better at the awkward language of love—Markus tells Nathalie, “I could go on holiday in your hair,” which could sound sweet or gross—and the unexpected events that give life a major left turn. (This registers with more feeling than “The Vow,” case you’re wondering.)
First-time feature directors David Foenkinos (who adapted his novel into the script) and Stephane Foenkinos bounce back and forth between playful (office gossip!) and mournful, but anyone who’s ever committed to someone knows the feeling of not being able to imagine a life without that person.
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