L’arnacoeur [Heartbreaker] (2010)

L’arnacoeur is Pascal Chaumeil‘s first feature film, starring Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens and Andrew Lincoln.

Alex (Romain Duris) has a successful business, together with his sister Mélanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (François Damiens): he gets hired by people to break couples up, but he only does so when the woman is unhappy – and by seducing her. When he gets hired to break up Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) and her fiancé Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln), he agrees to do it because of financial difficulties, even though Juliette seems perfectly happy. And it just might be that Alex has taken on more than he can handle.

Heartbreaker is shallow and predictable, but also very enjoyable and funny. It knows what it is – which is a sappy RomCom – but more importantly, it likes what it is and it’s well done.

Just as with people, movies which know who they are, what their strength and weaknesses are and are comfortable with them, exude a quiet confidence that basically charms you out of your pants. And that’s the case with this film. It’s not the most innovative film, you know exactly what’s going to happen and there’s probably been a hundred billion movies like it before. It doesn’t tell you anything new about the world (or anything else for that matter) or make you have epiphanies about yourself.

But then, it doesn’t set out to do all these things (in fact, it’s probably better if you don’t think too hard about it, especially about Alex): This film wants to entertain and it’s unashamed in that pursuit – and very successful. Though some of the jokes (especially the ones involving Marc) fall flat, it is a really funny movie that just carries you off.

Romain Duris is wonderful in the role. Vanessa Paradis is good, too, though her charm eludes me for the most part. I kept wondering where I knew Andrew Lincoln from, which was a little distracting, especially since a quick look at the imdb told me “Love, Actually” and I kept thinking that I had seen him more recently and then finally I had the The Walking Dead epiphany.


The film might be a little more American than French movies tend to be (which makes the planned American remake even weirder) but in the end, that doesn’t really matter.

Summarising: an entertaining two hourse. Nothing more, nothing less.


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