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DELICACY – The Review

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Can it really have been 11 years ago that Audrey Tautou stole hearts as the title character in AMELIE? Seems her performance as that whimsical Parisian sprite captured the world’s heart. Since then she’s starred in several other French films and took a leap into an American blockbuster, THE DA VINCI CODE. Well she’s matured along with her fans and nows stars in a more adult, reality-grounded love story, DELICACY. Even though she’s got a grown-up job and love life, does she still have a bit of that daydreaming pixie in her?

As the film begins Nathalie ( Tautou ) glides through the quaint Parisian streets to a small cafe. A handsome young man spots her and is smitten. A year later he proposes, and soon they’re married and sharing a lovely apartment. She steps up professionally, leaving her job selling theatre programs with her best pal  to work at a the Paris office of a Swedish investment firm. Life’s a dream until tragedy strikes.  In order to deal with her loss,Nathalie plunges into her new position at work. Her womanizing boss tries to make her his mistress, but she flatly rejects him. Then one day her co-worker, the unassuming Markus ( Francois Damiens ) steps into her office to discuss a project. Unspeaking, Nathalie rises from her desk, walks over to him, and kisses Markus passionately. She then asks him to leave the office. The man is floating on a cloud. When he asks her about it the next day, she feigns ignorance, then apologizes. But Markus believes a connection is there and decides to pursue a relationship with her. Can the lonely Swede succeed despite office gossips, a rejected superior, and her unimpressed friends? More importantly, can Nathalie finally have a life outside the office once again?

This is a sweet, gentle, low-key story of second-chance romance that’s difficult to embrace because of the confusing motivations of the main characters. Nathalie’s lip-lock with Markus surprises us almost as much as him. They only conversed about work projects prior to this. Did she just decide that it was time to be with someone once more? Was she just instinctively drawn to his good soul? Who knows?  I mean Markus is a kind-hearted fellow, but this sudden turnabout after shutting down her lothario boss is jarring. Her co-workers and friends are puzzled too. When Markus joins Nathalie at a party thrown by her best gal pal, the hostess dismisses him with a not-so-subtle remark ( shades of the recent US comedy SHE’S OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE ). Tautou and Damiens do the best they can with these underwritten characters, but the romance never really clicks.  Not a terrible film, just not involving. Despite the lovely French settings, this delicate love story never really takes flight.

Overall Rating: 2.5 Out of 5 Stars

Jim Batts was a contestant on the movie edition of TV's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2009 and has been a member of the St. Louis Film Critics organization since 2013.

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