Well, here we go, another Frenchy. So lets talk about it.
Romantics Anonymous (Les emotifs anonymous) is a french romantic comedy with 2 stories sort of going on at once. The first story involves a Chocolate Mill that will go bankrupt if they don’t change their chocolate and increase their sales. The other is about the relationship between the owner of a Chocolate Mill, Jean-Rene (played by Benoît Poelvoorde), and the new Sales Representative, Angélique (Played by Isabelle Carré) who was actually applying to be a Chocolatier. 1 thing they have in common? They both suffer from extreme social anxiety disorder. To the point that their dates are among the most awkward that you’ll ever see in cinema (This isn’t from a cringe-worthy script or acting, it’s from characters who are clearly turning molehills into mountains on mars, and are overreacting).
The acting was above average, I didn’t have a problem with it, and it was definitely quirky. But also a bit bland from to time.
The characters, to be honest, aren’t that well developed. They’re good, but they’re also rather dull compared to most other french movies I’ve seen. They’re not that well fleshed out, and most of their screen time focuses almost entirely on their 1 big problem to overcome, rather than showing us who they are beyond their fears (I’m comparing this to films like Amelie and Fight Club in the sense that no characters are particularly memorable). We know that Angelique is secretly a legendary chocolatier who fears a lot of things…but I want to know more, and the same goes with Jean-Rene and the other chocolatiers.
The story is good, much like My Afternoons With Marguerette, it’s a gentle film without much conflict. Even Bridget Jones’ Diary had more conflict and challenge than this. But, there’s a better chocolate-related film out there starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp that I would recommend checking out.
The music was, for me, quite forgettable. I remember nothing of the original score (keeping in mind, The Revenant’s score still blows my mind), but as far as songs are concerned, some of the humour behind the choices got lost in translation. For instance, this movie includes a french language cover by the film’s leading lady, Isabelle Carre, of Richard Rodgers’ song “I Am Confidence”, which is featured in the Julie Walters musical The Sound Of Music. As well as a french version of the Russian song Oci Ciornie, performed (awkwardly) by the film’s leading man, Benoit Poelvoode, You Are My Destiny by Paul Anka (Again, ironically chosen), Ay Jalisco ne the rajas d’Ernesto (Popular Mexican song from the ’40s, featured in the 1941 film Jalisco, Don’t Backslide), and a much newer song (brand new when the film came out) called Big Jet Plane by Angus and Julia Stone (an indie pop duo from Australia), which is a song that could be interpreted as either missing someone or getting to 4th base.
Setting: The setting was comparatively timeless, with the exception of the use of certain makes of lap-tops and web cams.
The humour is that of a Romantic Comedy between 2 awkward, fearful characters who are incredibly introverted, with 1 holding the key to success for both of them, if they can only overcome their greatest challenges. It’s nice and quirky, and also a bit over the top. You’re guaranteed to get at least some laughs about of it, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be rolling on the floor holding your ribcage.
Would I recommend Romantics Anonymous? Sure, but not as highly as other French movies I’ve seen. It’s a simple, but also quite a forgettable film with an amusing synopsis and some quirks (2 people who are afraid of everything get together) that didn’t deliver quite as well as it could have. It’s a satisfying film. But also not overwhelming in its use of themes and challenges. Just a nice, gentle flick, and at 70-75 minutes long, it’s shorter than 2 episodes of Game Of Thrones without adverts (Not the best comparison, I know).