“Nobody Loves Me” is a spirited round of emotional hide-and-seek peopled by engagingly flawed women and dorky men. Fests and TV should show some affection.
Bernadette Lafont toplines as the lusty, beer-loving Annie, mother of pretty bartender Marie (Lio), a single mom who has rotten luck with guys. Annie and Marie haven’t seen each other in seven years.
Freshly bounced by her latest lover, Annie drops in on her uptight bourgeois sister, Francoise (Bulle Ogier), who suspects that her husband, supposedly at a seaside resort conference, is having an affair.
At Annie’s urging, the two set off to surprise Francoise’s spouse. Annie befriends attractive hotel manager CriCri (Michele Laroque), who’s had it with both her job and her husband. Rounding out the odd quartet is hotel chambermaid Dizou (Maaike Jansen), just shy of 60, who still enjoys conjugal bliss — unlike the other women — and has 11 children to show for it.
Pic’s seemingly random structure, of which more than a third is taken up with flashbacks to seven years earlier, is not always easy to follow, but all loose ends are sweetly tied by the end.
Thesps inhabit their roles with a winning array of mannerisms and delivery. Whereas Ogier is delicate and puts on Blanche Dubois airs, Lafont is delightfully crude and direct. Lio conveys the melancholy of a late-20s woman who’s kind to men and gets treated like dirt in return.
Jean-Pierre Leaud, in a few fleeting scenes, delivers one of his patented droll perfs as Lafont’s long-ago main squeeze and laconic confidant to Lio. Older actors blend nicely with talented newer names.
Up-close, warts-and-all lensing lingers on the characters, who sometimes address the camera when not confiding in each other. Helmer Marion Vernoux and d.p. went for a deliberately grainy, contrasty look that grows irksome in the long run. On the music side, gritty rhythmic ballads are inserted from time to time to good effect.