Ah the ole love triangle, the backbone of many a French film, is the subject of Jérôme Bonnell’s A Trois On y Va (All About Them). But is there anything new to say about a situation where everyone is in love with the wrong person? Bonnell has added a fresh twist by making the couple at the centre of story attracted to the same women. And although the three main characters are harmless enough, their constant navel-gazing and soul searching about relationships fast becomes tiresome and pointless. It’s time for these three, frustrated twenty-somethings to grow up and find an interest outside satisfying their short-term sexual desires. And it makes for irritating viewing.
Charlotte (Sophie Verbeek) and Micha (Félix Moati) are in a relationship and have decided to buy a house together on the outskirts of the northern French city of Lille. Micha is unaware that Charlotte has been cheating on him for several months with their best friend Mélodie (Anaïs Demoustier) and sensing a distance between them, Micha decides to cheat on Charlotte … with Mélodie. It’s complicated. And the fact Mélodie appears to be in love with both Charlotte and Micha and cannot break off her love affair with either of them adds to the confusion and heartache.
Of the three, Mélodie is by far the most interesting character and there is a question mark over whether she is genuinely interested in a relationship with Charlotte or Micha or enjoying the role of puppetmaster. Demoustier excels at playing the wide-eyed, innocent victim (Francois Ozon’s Une Nouvelle Amie, Pascale Ferran’sBird People), but here there is just a hint of malice. She deliberately creates situations which risk the discovery of her guilty secret. Often these scenes provide the farce-like comedy that is the stock in trade of the love triangle. Mélodie hiding naked in a cupboard, for example, to avoid discovery by Micha after a tryst with Charlotte. It’s an outdated form of humour which sits at odds with Bonnell’s attempt at a modern take on a well-travelled story. At heart, A Trois On y Va is a story about painfully ordinary, individuals and the web of lies and deceit they weave seems to provide the only high point in otherwise dull, superficial lives. It’s a claustrophobic film which would benefit from a lighter, less intense touch.