Anaïs in Love (2021) ☆☆☆(3/4): In her irrepressible pursuit of romance

French film “Anaïs in Love” is a wryly delightful comedy about one irrepressible young woman who cannot help but drawn to more possibility of romance. You may roll your eyes as observing how headless she can be, but you will also see how she can get away with many things thanks to her undeniable natural charm, and you will certainly get some good laughs as she bounces from one amusing moment to another throughout the film.

When we are introduced to Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) at the beginning of the film, she is around the end of the relationship with her boyfriend, who recently moved out of her apartment. Although she is currently behind several months in case of paying the rent to her landlady, she is so vivacious and excited about a little private party she is soon going to attend, and her landlady cannot possibly say anything bad to her while flatly reminding Anaïs of her ongoing rent problem and then giving a fire alarm for her apartment.

At some other apartment building where that party is being held, Anaïs comes across a middle-aged guy named Daniel (Denis Podalydès), who also happens to be about to attend that party just like her. When they subsequently interact more with each other at the party, both of them cannot help but attracted to each other, and, what do you know, they soon begin a little affair between them even though Daniel has actually lived with a prominent female novelist for more than 10 years since he left his first wife.

Meanwhile, we get to know a bit more about Anaïs’ personal life. When she reveals to her boyfriend that she has been actually pregnant for several weeks, they come to argue a lot with each other, and that is the official end of their relationship. For taking care of that little matter of hers, Anaïs visits her hometown, and that is when she comes to learn that her mother may not live that long due to the recurrence of her cancer. As she struggles to sort out her complicated feelings alone, the score by Nicola Piovani swells as required, but it does not take much time for her to get back to her usual carefree mode before having an abortion as planned.

However, there comes another trouble for her when Anaïs is reminded again of how Daniel is not as committed about their relationship as she is. He says he loves her, but he is still not so willing to leave his current partner just because he does not want to disrupt the status quo between them at all, and that eventually becomes a deal-breaker for Anaïs, who promptly ends her relationship with him without any hesitation.

After that, Anaïs decides to be more serious about completing her graduate course, but then she finds herself gradually fascinated with Daniel’s partner Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) after reading one of Emilie’s novels. Even though she has some big tasks to handle right now, she goes down to a small rural hotel where Emilie is attending a little meeting for writers, and then she actively approaches to Emilie, who gladly receives her unadorned adoration while also becoming quite curious about her.

What eventually happens next between these two ladies does not surprise us much, but the screenplay by director/writer Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet often tickles us as they playfully swirl around each other step by step. When they have to come across a little hidden room which is incidentally full of erotic and kinky stuffs, Anaïs becomes all the more attractive to Emilie than before, and Emilie does not reject her at all as having some fun with her, though, like any other thoughtful matured women, she remains tentative and reserved while keeping her feelings and thoughts to herself.

In the meantime, Anaïs continues to charm several people around her besides Emilie. In exchange of paying less for her staying at the hotel, she agrees to do some menial works along with a young temporary employee named Yoann (Jean-Charles Clichet), and Yoann seems to be interested in getting closer to her, but it does not take much time for him to see that she has the other fish to fry. When Daniel later enters the picture again (Is this a spoiler?), he is not so amused at all to say the least, but he still does not know what to do with Anaïs, and she does not give a damn at all about whatever he is going to do.

In the end, the story culminates to a point where Anaïs and Emilie become much more honest about their rather complicated situation, and the movie alternatively amuses and touches us when Emilie subsequently gives a calm and sensible analysis on not only their relationship but also themselves. Both of them are smart and intelligent enough to discern what may be the best for both of them, but they are still helpless in front of their matter of heart, and that is why the last scene between them comes with a bit of naughty humor. Besides generating an effortless romantic heat between their characters, Anaïs Demoustier and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi ably complement each other throughout the film, and they are also supported well by several other main cast members including Denis Podalydès and Jean-Charles Clichet.

In conclusion, “Anaïs in Love” is your average witty French romantic comedy film packed with enough intelligence and amusement, and I must confess that I chuckled more than once as observing what a force of nature its endearingly flawed heroine really is. Regardless of whatever will happen next after the ending of the film, she will always move forward for joie de vivre, won’t she?

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