Ange & Gabrielle  – Anne Giafferi

UnknownAnne Giafferi’s peppy, US-style romantic comedy, based on the play by Muriel Magellan L’Eveil du Chameau, is a perfect tonic for the winter blues.  Patrick Bruel (Ange) and Isabelle Carré (Gabrielle) make an attractive, if slightly older than usual, couple who fall in love after just the right measure of misunderstandings and misconceptions.  And the film zips along at a pace that had defied many romantic comedies of late. That all important chemistry between the two leads, crucial to the success of the genre, is there in spades and while the plot runs a predictable course, it’s done with such brio and pzaz its impossible not to be swept along by its charm.

Gabrielle discovers her 17-year-old daughter Claire (Alice de Lencquesaing) is pregnant by her boyfriend Simon (Thomas Soliveres) who refuses to have anything to do with the child.  Worried for her daughter, Gabrielle confronts the man she believes to be Simon’s father in the hope he will persuade his son to change his mind. But Ange is unaware he has a 20-year-old son and refuses to become involved in the whole drama.  He’s a fifty-something successful, single businessman whose life revolves around work and nightclubbing. When Claire’s baby is born he reluctantly finds himself drawn into taking care of the child and starts to forge a relationship with the young man who may, or may not, be his son.  Ange and Gabrielle are thrown together and discover over time they have fallen in love.
Single parenthood, unwanted pregnancy, empty-nest syndrome, gay marriage and middle-aged depression all rear their head.  But this is romantic comedy, not social drama and Giafferi keeps the mood light and fizzy. Ruggedly handsome Bruel proves once again there are no barriers to men in their fifties, as opposed to women, playing romantic leads. Last seen as a sex-addict opposite Sophie Marceau in Tonie Marshall’s lame comedy, Tu veux ou tu veux pas, Bruel is definitely more at ease as the straight-talking yet endearingly vulnerable Ange. Carré’s Gabrielle is a not too distant cousin to the character Perrine she played in Marie Belhomme’s Les Chaises Musicales. In her mid-forties, she still exudes a childlike innocence which works beautifully against Bruel’s buttoned-up machismo.
Laurent Stocker of the La Comédie Française is excellent, though sadly underused, as Ange’s friend and business partner Guillaume. He almost stole the show as the neurotic boss in Jerome Cornuau’s Chic and once again demonstrates his impeccable comic timing.
Laughter and love abound in Giafferi’s second feature-film – what’s there not to like?

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