This Audrey Tautou rom-com offers a pastry flake-thin exploration of bereavement, emotional recovery and office politics.
Whether scurrying about a pokey Montmartre café (Amelie), restlessly searching for her MIA beau (A Very Long Engagement), juggling a fledgling fashion label and a cross-Channel fling (Coco Before Chanel), or toying with other people's emotions (Beautiful Lies), it's easy to see how Audrey Tautou's rosy demeanour and understated elegance have seen her fall into grace with the cinemagoing public over the past decade or so.
With the allure of a showery moonlit snog on the Champs-Élysées, the dainty scent hawker once again finds herself distracted by a love less ordinary in Delicacy, a sweet but unfulfilling French fancy from co-director siblings David and Stéphane Foenkinos.
After her husband (Pio Marmaï) is killed in a motor accident, Nathalie (Tautou) shuts out her family and best friend Sophie (Joséphine de Meaux), becoming an increasingly career-focused social recluse over the next three years. Until one day when, in a moment of out-of-character spontaneity, she smooches oafish Swedish IT-monkey Markus (François Damiens). Sacrebleu!
In spite of the venomous reaction of Nathalie's colleagues, not to mention her own visible distress at having locked lips with the office buffoon, an unlikely romance blossoms. The problem is it's an amour we're never made to believe in – her self-involvement and his cripplingly low self-esteem remain disharmonious from the start.
The Foenkinos brothers' pastry flake-thin exploration of bereavement, emotional recovery and office politics aside, what's most disconcerting is the unsavoury flavour to the way we're encouraged to chuckle along at Markus' expense while simultaneously swooning over Tautou's impish charms.
A much-needed injection of joie de vivre just about saves the final act, but Delicacy ultimately adheres to far more shallow and soppy rom-com clichés than it eschews.
Audrey Tautou is a reliably alluring screen presence.
But she’s wasted in this lightweight odd couple rom-com.
Takes far too long to say very little about life and love.