Directed by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, and starring Anaïs Demoustier, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and Denis Podalydés, Anaïs in Love (aka Les amours d’Anaïs) is a French LGBTQ+ romantic drama, which is new to the UK from today. The movie follows the story of a somewhat disorganised young woman, and her journey through various relationship woes.
In the film, Anaïs is a 30-year-old who is living in Paris. She’s currently between jobs, is a bit of a dreamer, has terrible time-keeping skills, and is two months behind on paying her rent.
Her love life isn’t doing too well either. Her relationship with boyfriend Raoul doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and it is clear their romance is entering its dying days.
But one day, after being invited to a party, Anaïs meets Daniel – a married man, who publishes books. Anaïs and Daniel hit it off, and soon they are embarking on an affair.
However, Daniel doesn’t want the affair to compromise his way of life or his marriage. He’s much older than Anaïs and despite the affair, he is happy with the way his life has panned out, and sees this is a diversion.
Anaïs on the other hand is not so happy, and she’s clearly not meant to be with Daniel. This is something she quickly realises when she locks eyes on Daniel’s wife – celebrated writer, Emilie.
But are Anaïs and Emilie destined to be together? Or is this just another romance that will fizzle out in time?
Should you wish to take a look at Anaïs in Love, the movie is currently playing in select UK cinemas from today, or is available to rent online through Peccadillo Pictures. Alternatively, if you wish to buy a copy of the film, Anaïs in Love can be picked up on iTunes now, while a DVD release will follow in October.
As to whether this is a movie for you or not, well it all depends on whether you like slow burning romantic dramas. Anaïs in Love is very much a slow-burn kind of tale, which looks at the ups and downs of love.
The film isn’t so much about the destination as it is about the journey. The story is about someone traversing relationships and romances which don’t quite work for them, before eventually finding one which might, and the movie let’s this journey unfold at a fairly even pace across the course of the narrative.
As such, this film may not work for everyone, and those looking something a little punchier may find themselves disappointed. However, audiences who are happy to let the whole thing wash over them, and who are in no real hurry for quick resolutions, will certainly be fine with this.
Keeping things interesting in this movie is actress Anaïs Demoustier, who takes on the lead role of Anaïs. Playing her titular namesake gives Demoustier the opportunity to embody a (sort of) scatterbrained young woman, and this is something she appears to revel in.
Demoustier’s performance feels very authentic and incredibly believable. We’ve all met someone like Anaïs, who is not quite keeping to the same pace as everyone else, (heck, we’ve probably been that person too), and there is something quite relatable to her character.
Joining Demoustier as a key focus of the film, is Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who plays Emilie – the beautiful, older woman, who catches Anaïs’ eye. Tedeschi brings a certain confidence and stillness to the role, making this a perfect bit of casting, and in terms of the story, it is not difficult to see why Anaïs quickly become transfixed while in Emilie’s presence.
My only gripe here is that I would have liked to have seen more of these two actresses together. The screen comes alive when they share scenes, so it’s just a shame that it takes a while for Emilie to be introduced into the story.
But this is a minor issue, and it doesn’t derail the film. I guess I would have just liked more.
Outside of the acting talent, Anaïs in Love is beautifully shot, features a light smattering of humour, and is playful in all the right places. The film also offers up an interesting look into relationships, and explores the many facets of love, from going through the motions and making poor decisions, to falling head over heels for someone.
This isn’t a particularly complex story, but director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet does make it clear that relationships are themselves complex, and this is something which the film is keen to explore. Whether Anaïs is depicted as a free-spirit or a home wrecker is up to the audience to decide, but there’s plenty of time in the movie for everyone to draw their own conclusions.
For the most part I found Anaïs in Love to be fairly enjoyable stuff. I can’t say it wowed me at any point, but it has a few nice touches here and there and this kept me engaged.
Ultimately, I believe Anaïs in Love delivers the story it initially sets out to tell, and it does so with care and attention to the characters and the subject matter. So, while the film is not particularly amazing, it is certainly likeable, and this works for me.