Nathalie (Tautou) was deeply in love, and had a life planned out with husband François (Pio Marmaï), but when he is hit and killed by a car when out running, she is left an empty shell. Fast Forward three years, now drowning herself in her job, she fleetingly kisses co-worker Markus (François Damiens), a normal –average Joe looking – individual who’s life gets turned upside down when this beautiful woman gives him the light of day. As Nathalie rediscovers love, and Markus deals with self-esteem issues, their blooming relationship hits a few snags along the way.
Not nearly as anguished as I thought it was going to be, Delicacy seems to side step all the heavy questions that one would ask when in Nathalie’s terrible situation – those of grief and letting go, and the appropriate timeframe to find love and move on. I’m not for a second saying that there are guidelines when it comes to this, just that you would expect a film of this subject to explore these themes rather than just briefly raise them. Of course, the light-hearted approach leads to a much more enjoyable experience, but also, a less impactful one.
Just as subjective as our own, French comedy can split audiences right down the middle. And with this, the directors might as well ask ‘How do you like your whimsy?’ whilst serving up the sweet desert of a story that it’s telling. Gladly though, I like whimsy, and I like it more when Audrey Tautou is delivering it, because just like it’s star, the film is delectable and utterly charming. Yes, it doesn’t go to the places you think it should, but the performances and awkwardness of this little love story is heart-warmingly satisfying and wins through in the end.
I know we’ve seen Tautou play characters like this many times, and that she could pull off this performance in her sleep, but that doesn’t the nullify fact that she plays them so well or that they’re any less enjoyable to watch. What makes this film even more memorable though is the inclusion of François Damiens. Perfect in his role, his mix of shyness and comfort when in the company of Tautou’s Nathalie is delightful.
Delicacy, in all honestly should have done a lot more, however, even saying that I feel like I’m selling it short because it never bored me, it made me laugh, it’s beautifully shot and with a wonderfully sweet final scene left me with a smile on my face. So, for a harmless but effective romantic comedy, you can do much worse than this.