Populaire [Popular] (2012)

Populaire
Director: Régis Roinsard
Writer: Régis Roinsard, Daniel Presley, Romain Compingt
Cast: Déborah François, Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson, Mélanie Bernier, Nicolas Bedos, Miou-Miou

Plot:
Rose (Déborah François) dreams of living the village she grew up in and becoming a secretary. When she applies for a job with Louis (Romain Duris), he is impressed by her ability to type quickly, despite using only two fingers. But it turns out that she’s pretty unsuited to work as a secretary otherwise. So Louis decides to train her for the typewriting championship. Having nowhere else to go, Rose moves in with him and they set to work.

Populaire gleefully traipses through pretty much every cliché the 50s have to offer in a strange mix of reverence and irony. It’s sweet and fun, but not awesomely great.

populaire

There are not many sport films that focus on female athletes, so that was pretty cool. Having it in such an unusual setting and with such an unusual sport was pretty cool to see as well.

But I’m generally not very sure about the feminist side of things. As an example: Obviously the 50s were not a particularly great era for women and when you have a film set at the time, it’s fair that Louis calls Rose “My Sweet” all the time. But quite contrary to the customs of the time, Rose calls him out on that and tells him that she doesn’t like it. And yet, he continues to call her that. It’s a small thing but if he had just respected her wishes there, it would have made the film 100% better without being really anachronistic.

populaire1

I quite liked the chemistry between Déborah François and Romain Duris. Though I have to say that it wouldn’t have hurt if Louis had been a little less of an ass. The movie only works because Duris is exceptionally charming, so you can overlook Louis’s worst  moments. But really, there was neither a need for the slapping (though I know that that is also a “movie of the olden times” cliché) nor for Louis to treating his date like crap just because he’s unhappy.

Despite those … hiccups, the film is entertaining, had me laughing and I enjoyed myself.

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Summarising: sweet, fun, good watch.

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