Frenchified Spice

The only fault in it was the smoking. They were both smokers. It’s a disgusting habit, truly disgusting – until you see her smoke. Sexy. Seriously sexy. A woman with her lips clenched around a fag is usually such a turn-off for me. But there’s nothing that Arielle does that does not ooze allure. And her smile, my lord her smile! I was smitten by Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe) from go to whoa – and to top it off, she’s French and reeking of Frenchiness. The movie is ‘5 to 7’.

Her love interest is considerably younger, by nine years, at twenty-four. He is very droll, somewhat naive and a novice – as in yet to be published – writer. He’s played by Anton Yelchen. There’s a Allenesque touch to this offering from director Victor Levin, or perhaps it’s a throwback to the fluffy screw-ball comedies of manners from a past golden age. And it just goes to show that a movie doesn’t have to have their main protagonists ripping their clothing off at the drop of a hat to get the blood pulsing. By the end I realised this, for me – a movie about falling in love and never out of it – was a true treat for all my senses.

5 to 7 movie

As for the title – of course, being a French woman, she is married but not adverse to a little more spice in her life, particularly as hubby (Lambert Wilson) has a similar proclivity. But they are only available for dalliances between the hours of five to seven, their remaining ones taken up by work and family. His mistress (Olivia Thirlby) is a bouncy, beguiling young editor for a leading publishing house – see where this is going?

Of course the central relationship has to end badly once the five to seven rule is broken and Blind Freddy could see that the young man will end up with the cute and caring soon-to-be ex-mistress. Then it’ll be Hollywood happy ever-afters for all concerned. But just remember, although this is an American production, it takes its cues from elsewhere. What starts as a sort of arrangement of mutual benefit becomes much more and the binds of love they discover in each other are not so straight forward in breaking free from. How could one ever throw off the appeal of the ministrations of such a striking woman – and such a clichéd French one to boot?

Actress Marlohe is a former Bond girl (Skyfall), but the only recognisable faces for me in the movie were his parents, Glenn Close and Frank Lagella. Both have the most delightful fun with their roles. Mother was soon in thrall of her boy’s older woman, but his gruff father, who nonetheless displayed a touching love for his wayward son, was less sure that their relationship could finish up as being in any way beneficial for the lad.


In the end the young editor comes to his rescue, once the obvious occurs, with the denouement involving marriage and kids. When our two former lovers accidentally collide, some years down the track from their inevitable parting, we discover that what they once had is still as fresh as the day they met. This spoiler, I assure you, will not detract from the enjoyment any viewer will take from this beguiling gem. Arielle would be impossible for any man to forget – and maybe I’ll have to suffer a James Bond to see Bérénice Marlohe again. As Brian, our young, hopelessly in love hero, states ‘Some of the best writing in New York won’t be found in books, or movies, or plays, but on the benches of Central Park. Read the benches, and you understand.’ Yes you will.

Official Trailer =

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