Film & TV

"Delicacy" an Inconsequential Romantic Dramedy That Dares Us Not to Love Audrey Tautou

With her ponytail and toggle coat, Audrey Tautou, playing workaholic widow Nathalie in Delicacy, gives off a sexless, cutie-pie charm — not as aggressively as she did in Amélie but still gratingly. The actress, therefore, is perfect for this dainty, inconsequential romantic dramedy, the first film from brothers David and Stéphane Foenkinos. Delicacy opens, with prolix voice-over, on the first encounter between François (Pio Marmaï) and Nathalie. A few minutes of screen time later, they're happily wedded; shortly after that, he's dead. Nathalie dulls the pain over the years by devoting herself to her job, an undefined executive position at a Swedish-owned firm. After fending off some advances from her boss (Bruno Todeschini, pleasing as a passive wolf), Nathalie seemingly ends her mourning by smooching, out of the blue, coworker Markus (François Damiens). The big, goofy Scandinavian falls in love instantly; the last two-thirds of Delicacy are devoted to their awkward courtship — a scenario made tolerable by Damiens. The actor brings to this film what his costar is incapable of: vulnerability, shame, longing. But there's no escaping Tautou. Delicacy ends with her enormous eyeballs staring right back at us, daring us not to find her adorable.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.