All About Them (15)
Director: Jérôme Bonnell.
Starring: Anaïs Demoustier, Félix Moati, Sophie Verbeeck. France/Belgium 2015. 87 mins. French with English subtitles.
Inspired by older French comedies of manners from the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the current trend towards sensual Gallic dramas about unconventional sexualities, All About Them is the story of a ménage à trois between a lawyer, Mélodie (Anaïs Demoustier), her best friend Charlotte (Sophie Verbeeck) and Charlotte’s boyfriend Micha (Félix Moati).
The film dances tonally between tragedy and farce, evolving in an exciting atmosphere of fluidity. Moments that are tongue in cheek collide breathlessly with moments that are disarmingly sincere, and the film moves at a pace that somehow captures the urgency and impatience of the desires at play.
In a refreshing atmosphere of acceptance, none of the characters are ever condemned for their unfaithfulness. Indeed, their emotional openness and lack of restraint creates a refreshing alternative to the oppressive monogamy of mainstream cinema.
This rejection of exclusivity in romantic relationships and the resulting lack of real conflict could make the characters’ feelings appear to be meaningless, ephemeral sexual attractions. The film certainly starts off as an almost absurdist comedy about crazy, shameless people! But the realistic dialogue and convincing performances help reinforce the notion that much more than a passing fling is at stake.
The farcical aspect of the story gradually fades away as we get to learn more about the characters and their rare kind of love, one that does not ask for anything in return and does not even seem aware of the notion of jealousy. What could have been a cynical satire of unbridled sexual desire, or a tragedy of impossible love, instead ends with an almost transcendent, utopian resolution.
While it takes inspiration from the work of established directors such as Christophe Honoré and Valérie Donzelli, Jérôme Bonnell’s film extends beyond pastiche and manages to strike a rare, perfect chord of calm sincerity and genuine levity in its closing moments.
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