"You Look So Handsome" is proudly old-fashioned in script and execution. Seasoned thesp and scripter Isabelle Mergault's directing debut boasts an unpretentious charm that's already delighting older French-lingo auds. Comedy fests should investigate.

This review was updated on Jan. 18, 2006.

A sentimental two-hander with just enough edge, “You Look So Handsome” is proudly old-fashioned in script and execution. When the workhorse wife of a humorless French farmer accidentally dies, the farmer finds himself without a reliable source of hot meals, clean clothes and free help with the chickens and cows. Pragmatic to the core, he’s interviewing Romanian would-be brides in Bucharest mere days later. Seasoned thesp and scripter Isabelle Mergault’s directing debut boasts an unpretentious charm that’s already delighting older French-lingo auds. Comedy fests should investigate.

Perky Romanian single mom Elena (Medeea Marinescu) is determined to get to France and make money for her struggling family. Crusty, middle-aged Ayme (Michel Blanc) is looking for female labor, not romance. Still, he’s embarrassed enough by his mercenary approach to tell neighbors Elena is a distant relative who doesn’t speak French and is only visiting on a farming internship. However, just as Elena loses patience with his indifference, Ayme awakens to the possibilities and rewards of a genuine courtship. Country living is affectionately lampooned and lead thesps are fine. Marinescu, who learned her lines phonetically, brings undeniable oomph to her role.

You Look So Handsome

France

Production

A Gaumont Columbia Tristar Films release of a Gaumont presentation of a Gaumont, Film Par Film, France 2 Cinema production, with participation of Uni Etoile 3, Canal Plus and CineCinema. Produced by Jean-Louis Livi. Directed, written by Isabelle Mergault.

Crew

Camera (color), Laurent Fleutot; editor, Marie-Josephe Yoyotte; music, Bob Lenox, Alain Wisniak; art director, Bernard Vezat; costume designer, Anne David. Reviewed at UGC Danton, Paris, Jan. 11, 2006. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Michel Blanc, Medeea Marinescu, Wladimir Yordanoff, Benoit Turjman, Eva Darlan, Veronique Silver, Renee Le Calm, Dora Doll, Liliane Rovere, Elisabeth Commelin.
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