Anaïs in Love (15) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, France, 2021, 98 mins, in French with subtitles

Cast:  Anaïs Demoustier, Valerian Bruni-Tedeschi, Denis Podalydes

Review by Carol Allen

The Anaïs of the title (Anaïs Demoustier) is free-spirited, impulsive, young and beautiful.  She is full of life and energy and runs up flights of stairs without once pausing for breath.  She is totally lovable – or that is, I suspect, what first time film make Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet would have us believe.  Though frankly I found her rather self centred and annoying.

A student who never seems to do much studying, she’s become bored with her boyfriend, with whom she was sharing the rent on her Paris apartment and kicked him out, so she owes the landlady, whom she blithely deceives. She then has a brief fling with a middle aged man Daniel (Denis Podalydes) but isn’t really that interested in him either.  But just as you’re about to totally lose interest in her selfish capers, she captures our sympathy through her relationship with her mother (Anne Canovas), whom she adores and who is suffering from cancer. 

And then shortly after that the story gets more interesting, when Anais meets Daniel’s middle aged partner Emilie (Valerian Bruni-Tedeschi) and falls for her.  So will they or won’t they have an affair and how will Daniel react?   Not exactly a cliff hanger but what makes the film work is Bruni-Tedeschi, whose charisma now holds our interest.

Emilie is a famous writer and a fascinating woman.  So is her interest in Anais purely friendship, is the love affair Anais craves going to happen or is Emilie merely intent on gathering another experience into her life which she can write about?

The film looks gorgeous – lovely locations in Paris and Normandy – and is worth seeing for Bruni-Tedeschi’s performance.  And as the film progresses, Anais does become a little less annoying and grows up a bit.