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MOVIES (GFF 2022): Anaïs in Love - Review

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This review was originally written and published during the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year - Anaïs in Love now has a UK & Ireland theatrical & digital release date of 19 August 2022. You can watch the full UK trailer here.

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s Anaïs in Love is a movie full of quirks and wants you to know about them – its protagonist, Anaïs is thirty and broke – and after leaving her lover, falls for Daniel, and then Émilie who Daniel lives with, setting up a free-spirited dramedy that is mostly carried through by the impeccable Anaïs Demoustier, excellent at every turn – with enough charisma to spare.

The quirks aren’t too overbearing and allow for a well-rounded, cheerful character – she’s always late, and doesn’t have her life together – but the film instead takes its pride in escapism, and no more so is that apparent in the two romances that are front and centre of Anaïs in Love – with Demoustier sharing believable chemistry with her two co-stars, Denis Podalydès and Valeria Bruni‑Tedeschi. In both relationships the connection is there and apparent – and the movie leans into what both relationships mean for Anaïs, with the film exploring desire and power in relationships and how they manifest with one of them. One half of the film looks inward at Anaïs’s emotional turmoil, whilst the other looks at her pursuit and seduction of Émilie – it’s a film that feels distinctively French, but in a good way tapping into the common stereotypes that people associate with the nation’s indie films – I was reminded a lot of Claire Denis’ Let the Sunshine In while watching, both films have similar themes but this for my money is the stronger of the two.

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is stellar – the dance sequence set to Bette Davis Eyes is a highlight of the film – and it’s the strength of the film’s chemistry between the leads that makes it work as well as it does. I can never turn down a John Cassavetes shout-out too – the usage of Opening Night is equally as good. It’s a movie that is fully aware of the screwball tropes it’s operating with and works so well because of that – treading a fine line at times in how irritating the lead protagonist can be – but there’s an effortless charm that Anaïs in Love brings to the table that makes it instinctively watchable and instinctively brilliant.

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