Up for Love – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone
Director: Laurent Tirard
Writers: Marcos Carnevale (original screenplay: Corazon de Leon), Laurent Tirard (adaptation)
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Virginie Efira, Cédric Kahn
It’s a classic ‘meet-cute’: A young woman leaves her mobile phone behind at a restaurant; and the charismatic man who finds it phones her home, and arranges to return it over lunch. She’s a tall elegant lawyer, he’s an attractive and charming architect … but at four foot seven, it turns out he isn’t quite the prince charming she’d expected.
What could have been simply a slapstick comedy is given depth by writer/director Laurent Tirard. Originally an Argentinean film: Corazón de León, Tirard adapted the story for European audiences, casting Virginie Efira and Jean Dujardin in the central roles; and moving the action to Marseille (as in larger cities like Paris or London, there is such a range of people that a man’s stature would be less of an issue.)
There are a number of humorous moments, such as the encounter between Alexandre (Dujardin) and a ten year old boy wearing a jumper identical to the one he had just received from Diane (Efira). However, they are often tinged with an awareness of the issues they satirize, with the characters’ nuanced reactions raising interesting questions about our assumptions of the physical ideal, rather than just playing for laughs. This, however, raises an awkward question mark over the casting of 5ft 11 star Dujardin as Alexandre, rather than choosing an actor of the genuine height; though it is undeniable that he is otherwise brilliant in the role.
Much more than a shallow rom-com, Up for Love includes interesting subplots, including Diane’s law practice which she shares with ex-husband Bruno (Cédric Kahn,) and Alexandre’s relationship with his son; though these threaten to be overshadowed by the fluffy pop-focused soundtrack, and a few stereotypical set-pieces which repeatedly reduce the film toward chick-flick territory.
Ultimately, this is an advert for seizing opportunity; something that the central characters prove time and again. Could you really say that you wouldn’t have the same reaction, when trying to dismiss the long-held dream of a tall dark handsome stranger? Maybe not, but one thing’s for sure, Alexandre may be lacking in height, but he is one of the biggest characters of the film.
Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies
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