Delicacy/La Délicatesse


Directed by David Foenkinos and Stéphane Foenkinos. Starring Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Bruno Todeschini, Mélanie Bernier, Joséphine de Meaux, Pio Marmai, Monique Chaumette 12A cert, limited release, 110 min

AUDREY TAUTOU is rapidly evolving into a menace of significant proportions. Those unnecessarily huge eyes – a gecko surprised by its own absurdly heightened Frenchness – always seem to be peering at you from the other end of the zinc bar. Somebody, somewhere is convinced that we still find this creature charming and quirky. She’s a decent actor. She almost never bumps into the scenery. But that hyper-gamine act is fast becoming very tedious.

Her latest project is one of those light romances that too easily gets mistaken for a comedy. Based on some book by David Foenkinos – I’m betting it has a hazy cover depicting a glass of wine resting on a wicker table – Delicacy finds Ms Tautou playing a successful businesswoman prematurely propelled into widowhood.

We begin with her encountering the ideal man. If you haven’t seen a film before you may presume that François (Pio Marmai) and Nathalie (Tautou) are heading into a lifetime of happiness. Then the poor chap dies in a jogging mishap and Nathalie turns to work for comfort.

It’s never entirely clear what she does for a living, but the company does have a lot of Swedes about the place. Before too long (though long enough, frankly) our hero has inexplicably snuggled up to the most homely of the circling Scandinavians (Francois Damiens). Her friends disapprove. But Nathalie gradually finds herself returning to the real world and securing another chance at happiness.

Directed by Mr Foenkinos with the help of his brother, Stephane, the picture has the tight structure and irresistible momentum of a self-help book. The actors punch the lines with pantomime deliberation. The director finds appropriate colours to reflect the changing moods of his irrepressible gamine.

In short, Delicacy does pretty much what it promises. This is the type of film that – just to clarify we’re watching an unthreatening French project – features an image of the Eiffel Tower on its poster.

It won’t scare the chickens. It won’t tax the brain. It won’t scratch any tissue on its way down your gullet. It’s another Audrey Tautou film.