French Cinema Now Film Festival 2010: A Real Life – Review

Originally, I dismissed A Real Life as a chick flick with a grubby thief love interest and began watching it with low expectations.  Sometimes movies are better that way – with no hope.  Well, color me surprised and pleasantly proven wrong, because A Real Life is quite enjoyable.

The story focuses around a petty thief, Bruno (Guillaume Depardieu) who forges a lasting impact on a young school teacher named Isabelle (Florence Loiret-Caille.)  Their relationship quickly turns from a simple crush to a passionate love affair – meanwhile running, hiding, and dodging police.  There isn’t much explanation as to why Isabelle is madly attracted to Bruno other than their first, somewhat tragic encounter.  Around the halfway mark, Bruno raises the suspicion of the local police and they are sent to investigate him.  Since he is staying at Isabelle’s house, she is forced to either rat him out or save him.   Of course, ratting out your lover wouldn’t be very romantic, so Isabelle decides to save Bruno and thus begins their foray into the forest and a life of caution.

There isn’t a lot of dialogue in A Real Life.  Instead, director and co-screenwriter Sarah Petit relies on conveying intense feeling and emotion rather than clever quips between the lovers.  The outcome of this approach is refreshing and genuine.  Seeing their relationship blossom and the care they provide one another is beautiful.  If the dialogue was more wordy, this aspect could have easily been lost.

I tried to play tough guy and blot out A Real Life from my “must-see” list, but the engaging chemistry between Depardieu and Loiret-Caille is too good to pass up.  If you have a romantic movie aversion, suck it up and get in touch with your emotional side.  You won’t regret it.

Showtimes for A Real Life:

Saturday, October 30, 2010 9:30pm @ Landmark’s Embarcadero

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 6:30pm @ Landmark’s Embarcadero

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