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.