Entertaining throughout, Anaïs Demoustier charms the life out of you in Anaïs in Love – a directorial debut from Charline Bourgeous-Tacquet, this is a wonderful portrait of a woman at the crossroads in her life.
Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) careers from one lover to the next while trying to find some direction in her life. Following a brief dalliance with an older man (Denis Podalydès), she soon finds herself captivated instead by his beautiful long-time partner Emilie (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), a successful and beguilingly charismatic writer, and an affair begins which may just offer the contentment Anaïs has been searching for.
If there is only one thing that Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet gets right in her film Anaïs In Love is the pitch-perfect casting of Anaïs Demoustier as our titular character. So perfect is Demoustier in the role that you can’t imagine another actor making this character work as well as she does. Living life as freely and continually forward. For example in Anaïs has a long conversation with her landlady about rent that goes off on so many tangents about her life that not only do we as an audience forget the original intent of the conversation, but also the landlady herself does too.
The film could easily fall apart without her, but the sheer charm of our lead drives us to just forgive the things that could be construed as annoyances. But we, like every other character in the film, just seem to fall head over heels for her. Yes, she doesn’t have her life together in the way someone in their 30s normally would, but her sheer positivity about what the future could hold is infectious.
As the film progresses we slowly get to see her grow up (as someone only can when in their 30s), she realises what true love is like, how to connect with her mother and not be as flighty when it comes to important choices in her life. Deep down Anaïs is in a bit of a crisis, her mother is serious ill and she is doing whatever she can to ignore it, so she allows her whimsical nature to take too much control. To the point that even her ex Raoul confronts her about it. However, she is driven to continually move forward to find the love that will eventually slow all of that down, to be the yin to her yang. So when she finds that with Emilie, she can finally start contemplating more about everything around her.
Anaïs in Love moves along like its main character freely and without hesitation which works tremendously well for the film. Editing is also loose and free, showing how cohesive the entire experience is with our lead. The focus on the power of desire and the ever increasing search for it that we all have is intriguing. We find out about her mothers health, yet nor she or the film linger on it too much which can feel a tad disingenuous to the situation, but their focus isn’t on that here. You could say the healthy storyline isn’t overly necessary considering the story being told, but if Anaïs doesn’t have the driven always moving forward nature, then she would crumble into a dozen little pieces.
Anaïs is a fascinating character and one that you would be sad to lose after just one film. She is someone you feel like you knew when you were longer and are almost certain that this is how they turned out. Demoustier, is perfect here with Charline Bourgeous-Tacquet a voice that you will want to here from a lot more. Anaïs in Love is a film that breezes by and brings a smile to your face throughout.
Anaïs in Love – In cinemas & digital 19th August
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