You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Living on Love Alone

Even in a romantic city like Paris, "Living on Love Alone" is no longer enough to get by.

With: Anais Demoustier, Pio Marmai, Laurent Poitrenaux, Jean-Louis Coulloc'h, Christine Brucher, Manuel Vallade, Adelaide Leroux, Oceane Mozas, Armonie Sanders.

Even in a romantic city like Paris, “Living on Love Alone” is no longer enough to get by, as evidenced by writer-director Isabelle Czajka’s impressive but flawed sophomore feature. This playfully realistic portrait of a twentysomething misfit going from job to job and guy to guy recalls such Gallic lost-gal pics as Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” and Benoit Jacquot’s “A Single Girl,” with star Anais Demoustier’s captivating perf on par with her predecessors. But the film unfortunately takes a nosedive toward cliche-ville in its closing reels, making for a strong yet unsatisfying work that should nevertheless find intermittent love outside France.

Svelte, smart-alecky Julie (Demoustier) has five years of college education and a degree in communications, which is about as useful these days as a high school diploma. She lives in a closet-sized studio apartment in Paris, where she initially lands a job at a hip advertising agency.

But things don’t work out, partially because she’s a bit of a rebel and a bit of a ditz, but also because Julie’s employers treat her as just another cog in a country rife with overqualified graduates and high unemployment. The same can be said of her different lovers, mostly older men she meets in clubs or at work who don’t ask for much more than outright sex.

Thankfully, what could have been yet another depressing film about wayward European youth is filled with humor and surprises, especially in early scenes that reveal the absurdity of the corporate jungle Julie tries to penetrate: While her boss (Oceane Mozas) at the ad agency has her out buying sandwich platters or taking the creative director’s kids to EuroDisney, the manager (Laurent Poitrenaux) at her door-to-door saleswoman gig chastises her incompetence and then, in one of the pic’s funnier sequences, decides he should sleep with her as payback for being so condescending.

Demoustier (“Belle epine”) charismatically depicts a young woman whose wit and beauty are at odds with the cruel rigidity of the French workplace, and who doesn’t really know what she wants out of life beyond experiencing it from day to day. If helmer Czajka shows that the professional world has little patience for people like Julie, she also shows that Julie has little patience for them, as each encounter results in a lose-lose situation.

Julie soon meets her match in the dark, mysterious and seemingly jobless Ben (Pio Marmai), whom she crosses during an interview and then decides to follow on a trip to the Spanish border. But it’s here that the story flies off the rails and becomes a different movie — one that never convinces as a genre piece, but finds an all-too foreseeable conclusion to Julie’s predicament. This final section takes the easy way out of an important subject that felt more measured in its earlier reels.

Tech is marked by Crystel Fournier’s (“My Greatest Escape”) graceful, naturalistic lensing, while soundtrack is boosted by music from the Kills.

Living on Love Alone


Production: A Bac Films release of an Agat Films & Cie, France 3 Cinema, Pickpocket Prods. production, in association with La Banque Postale Image 3, Cinemage 4, with the participation of Canal Plus, CineCinema, France Televisions, Centre National du cinema et de l'image animee. (International sales: Bac Films Intl., Paris.) Produced by Patrick Sobelman. Directed, written by Isabelle Czajka.

Crew: Camera (color), Crystel Fournier; editor, Isabelle Manquillet; music, Eric Neveux; production designer, Nathaly Dubois; costume designer, Christel Birot; sound (Dolby Digital), Guillaume Valeix, Herve Guyader, Emmanuel Croset; line producers, Marie Frederique, Lauriot Dit Prevost; assistant directors, Frederic Alexandre, Fany Pouget; casting, Sarah Teper. Reviewed at Gaumont Opera Premier 5, Paris, Aug. 23, 2010. (In Paris Cinema Film Festival -- Premieres.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Anais Demoustier, Pio Marmai, Laurent Poitrenaux, Jean-Louis Coulloc'h, Christine Brucher, Manuel Vallade, Adelaide Leroux, Oceane Mozas, Armonie Sanders.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content