Thelma and Louise, a CGI Dwarf and Rosalie

There was just something about Rosalie – you wouldn’t call her beautiful with her mop of unruly hair, sallow complexion; her chain-smoking and tendency to over-imbibe at her watering hole of choice. Yep, on first impressions, the galloping years have not been overly kind to her, but she intrigued Vincent with a sense of where have I seen you before – and she intrigued me. ‘Rosalie Blum’ was my first film of this mint new year and it certainly was, as one reviewer put it, ‘An absolute pleasure to watch. Warm funny and up-lifting. A perfect pick-me-up movie’ (Adam Fleet ‘The Reel World’). It was by far the best of the trio featured in the piece; the other two being viewed before I headed north for the festive season as the old year dimmed – so we’ll get to Rosalie later.

I was looking forward to ‘Like Crazy’ because of Valeria. I’d seen Ms Bruni Tedeschi, an actress of a certain number of years, in Ozon’s ‘5×2’ and ‘Time to Leave’. She’s fearless and alluring in those, and this offering was being billed as Italy’s take on Hollywood’s classic ‘Thelma and Louise’, so I thought I was in for fine fare from director Paolo Virzì. I was disappointed. By the end I couldn’t give a hoot about whether or not Beatrice and Donatella did indeed drive their jalopy off a cliff; not one hoot.

The initial action takes place in a psychiatric facility where loquacious Beatrice ( Bruni Tedeschi) is a blowsy busy-body with allusions of grandeur. She takes quite an unhealthy interest in new arrival Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti), pretending at first to examine her as Villa Biondi’s welcoming doctor. The tattooed, scrawny newbie at first rejects her attentions, but when they both escape the institution, during a supervised outing to a nursery, by bus, obviously their relationship deepens. Then ensues mayhem across the Tuscan countryside as staff members from the facility try to track them down, but ‘Thelma and Louise’ this ain’t. It’s a dud, fell very flat for this scribe and Ms Bruni Tedeschi just simply ended up giving me the irits with her over the top performance. Many critics enthused, so maybe you shouldn’t just take my word for it.

For my tastes your time would be better spent with ‘Up for Love’, a movie that received a fair amount of criticism for the decision to use CGI instead of employing a height-challenged actor in the role of Alexandre, a fellow who does not allow his short-comings (oh dear, this film does leave itself open to a plethora of puns) to prevent him from getting the most out of life – or trying to attract the ladies. He cleverly sets up a meeting with beautiful, successful lawyer Diane (Virginnie Efira) whose mobile he finds after his quarry has a blue with her current beau. Alexandre makes contact, manipulates a meeting and Diane, despite her initial reluctance, finds herself being attracted to his joie de vivre and his not miniscule charm. Of course, out in public view, they make an awkward couple – and just how will her family and friends react? She tries to keep it all a secret, but Alexandre has other ideas. As we continue to observe his wooing of her we gradually stop watching for the faults that reportedly do exist with the transformation of actor Jean Dajardin (remember him from the world-wide hit ‘The Artist’?) into a very small person. We just enjoy it for what it is, a funny and sweet rom-com. Director Laurent Tirard gets plenty of laughs out of it and the audience, who shared my viewing room at the State, enjoyed it immensely – as I did. CGI or no CGI, this lovely outing really works.

And now back to ‘Rosalie Blum’. Vincent (Kyan Khojandi) can’t get his sense of déjà vu regarding Rosalie out of his head and resorts to stalking. Rosalie is a wake up to him and convinces her niece Aude (Alice Isaaz) to lead her zany bunch of mates – and assorted animals – to discover more about him. She uncovers the bald hairdresser is dominated by an overbearing mother (Anémone), who may or may not be still alive; leading a very small, confined life. Eventually he’s open to a bit of adventure as the three main protagonists come together and romance does develop, but do we discover the source of Vincent’s initial attraction to her? No, I will leave that potential spoiler alone in an effort to encourage you to drop your prejudices about sub-titled foreign offerings to see it. A huge hit in France for director Julien Rappeneau, Noémie Lvovsky is perfect as the imperfect Rosalie – there is just something about her and you will thoroughly enjoy getting to know Rosalie better in this terrific, oh-so-French delight.

‘Like Crazy’ trailer =

‘Up for Love’ trailer =

‘Rosalie Blum’ trailer =

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