wogma rating: Add to “To Watch” list, watch some day (?)
Just the title Heartbreaker, makes the film predictable. While sometimes that can be annoying, in this film’s case it partly works. Romain Duris, with all his SRK-type charm, is the main reason why. If only the film found a way to incorporate its wittiness through the film. And it’s a pity there were no breath-taking visuals, for a film based largely in Monaco. A backdrop of the French Riveria, would have taken the film to another level.Read more
Heartbreaker’s premise sounded like it was another offshoot of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. In French. I instantly knew I had to go see this film, especially since in India only more serious French movies get released (if at all). It was almost a field day for the romantic in me, to be able to see a French rom-com. And even though it’s a predictable, structured film – Romain Duris (of Russian Dolls and The Beat That My Heart Skipped fame) pulls the film through.
Alex (Duris), along with his sister and her husband (Julie Ferrier and François Damiens) have a unique business - they breakup marriages/relationships. The opening scene of the film steals you; set in Morocco it’s a crisp entertaining 15 minutes describing Alex’s craft with women. He’s the typical rom-com anti-hero-who-becomes-the-hero, one who claims to never fall in love, especially with his clients. And you find yourself wanting to believe him, which is pretty admirable for a film of this genre.
Alex’s method is simple. He convinces rather vulnerable targets that their partners are just not right for them, by charming the woman’s pants off, except that he keeps it professional. This makes for a witty and fascinating quarter of the film. It goes downhill the minute he meets, what the trailers refer to as “his match” i.e. the girl capable of making him fall in love.
Currently in Monaco, he gets an assignment to break up the upcoming marriage of wine connoisseur Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) – this also being the only French ingredient in Heartbreaker, as everything else (structure, formulas, clothing, background music and the subtitled dialogues) is wannabe Hollywood. So much so that even Juliette's best friend Sophie (Helen Noguerra) is a sex fiend who magically makes Juliette look classy. Typical. The only salvage is Paradis’ looks like an elegant, aristocratic sweetheart – an image that comes through by virtue of her friend's behaviour, but it works with her appearance.
Alex enters Juliette’s life as her bodyguard. And even though he seems reluctant at first to break up a wedding that is due in 10 days, he is forced because of his financial desperation – a lagging, unnecessary subplot involving irrelevant goons and thugs. The rest of the movie becomes like a liability; one that you are forced to watch because you were not given an option in the beginning. You simply had to fall in love with Alex, and curse yourself as he predictably falls in love with Juliette.
Heartbreaker is a good-looking movie, but it’s one that tries too hard. The subtitles are timed and you don’t get the feeling that it’s a language that you might not understand. Halfway through Heartbreaker, it’s like the makers forgot to add an ounce of charm. The plot then starts beginning to feel heavy – and the background music a little too mushy. I’m surprised no American studio has bought the rights yet. All praise to Romain Duris, though, who is an absolute charmer and brings the movie to a watchable slate. Maybe on a cold winter afternoon with your girlfriends.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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