Tu mérites un amour [You Deserve a Lover] (2019)

Tu mérites un amour
Director: Hafsia Herzi
Writer: Hafsia Herzi
Cast: Hafsia Herzi, Djanis Bouzyani, Jérémie Laheurte, Anthony Bajon, Sylvie Verheyde, Karim Ait M’Hand, Myriam Djeljeli, Alexander Ferrario, Jonathan Eap, Sophie Garagnon, Brice Dulin, Mouna Soualem, Lina Soualem, Abdelkader Hoggui, Donia Bouzyani
Seen on: 31.3.2021

When Lila (Hafsia Herzi) finds out that her boyfriend Rémi (Jérèmie Laheurte) cheated on her with his ex-girlfriend Myriam (Myriam Djeljeli), she is devastated. Lila and Rémi break up, but at the same time, they aren’t actually willing to let go of each other. So, while Rémi heads to Bolivia to clear his head, Lila starts flirting with other men, hoping to find more luck with them.

Tu mérites un amour sounds like it should be right up my alley – a story about a woman trying to find her footing in the world? I like those – but it just didn’t work for me because Lila and her development didn’t work for me.

The film poster showing Lila (Hafsia Herzi) lying half-naked on a bed.

I really struggled with watching Lila. On the one hand, it was just tough to watch so many people just walk all over the boundaries she (reluctantly, carefully) sets. Finally, at the very end, she manages to stand up for herself and to make her No stick, but it doesn’t feel like a triumph, but like a final unraveling. That’s not entirely unrealistic, but I would have liked to feel more optimism at the end, to be convinced that Lila has grown and not that it may just have been a No to one guy, and that she will make the same mistakes with the next guy.

On the other hand, watching her exploits as a fat woman, there was a bit of an exasperation on my part at her “pretty women problems”. Much like “rich people problems”, I just don’t really care that much. It’s not that I don’t believe that Lila has problems or that she really struggles with her lot, but dammit, there are like fifty guys in the film who throw themselves at her and she consistently chooses the assholes. It was annoying.

Lila (Hafsia Herzi) close up.

Add to that that Lila is almost entirely surrounded by men, and it completed my irritation. The movie fails the Bechdel-Wallace test as it is all about Lila and her male lovers, and even her best friend is a man – a walking, talking stereotype of the sassy, flamboyant, gay best friend (who is also a sex worker).

The film is atmospheric and Herzi does show promise as a filmmaker, although I thought that the film lacked a clear sense of what it wanted to say or show. But I took such a dislike to the film and Lila, I just couldn’t make it work for me.

Lila (Hafsia Herzi) talking to her best friend Ali (Djanis Bouzyani) as they have breakfast in bed together.

Summarizing: not my thing.

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