Director: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
Writer: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
Stars: Anaïs Demoustier, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Denis Podalydès
“When I really love someone, I don’t notice others,” Anais (Anais Demoustier) tells her partner as they lie in bed together. It’s a sinister take on what awaits the leading lady in writer-director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s new romantic comedy Anais In Love 2022. It’s similar to Jochum Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, but even though that movie feels grounded, Anais has her head in the clouds. However, that’s not much of an issue in the film, as over-optimism is used to her advantage, as the character breaks numerous boundaries and hearts in her quest to find the one person she will become. in all of her.
Anais is a mess. She’s chronically late for everything, two months behind on her rent, several months behind on the second part of her thesis project, pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want, and she doesn’t want the baby’s father either. Having a conversation with her is even stranger, as she deliberately avoids the subject at hand to talk about herself. For example, a Korean couple comes to see her apartment for an Airbnb stay, and Anias proceeds to speak to them in French (they don’t understand French) and talks about their ability to love. That seems to be her goal in her life: to find someone who doesn’t bore her, and who she can love unconditionally and not focus on anything else.
She then meets Daniel (Denis Podalydès) at a mutual friends party and from there they begin a relationship without passion. She likes Anais, but she recognizes that things won’t last because he is an older man and is in a relationship with the famous author Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). While Daniel talks about Emillie, Anais falls in love with her. She is intelligent, passionate, sophisticated, and lacks the awkwardness that Anais’s previous partners had.
This launches a desire to meet Emillie in person, and a chance meeting places the duo in the same space where instant sparks fly between them. Anais’s curiosity turns into a mild obsession as she travels to a symposium in the French countryside with barely enough money for her stay, to be close to Emilie, to befriend her, and maybe more. But when Daniel shows up at the symposium out of the blue, will Anais get what she wants or will she go home empty-handed?
Anais In Love 2022 is a character study of a beautiful manic elf dream girl with ADHD who is fawned over by everyone, and her overbearing, reckless and selfish attitude somehow endears her to others. This also provides comic relief as the audience laughs at Anais instead of at her because she is so self-absorbed that she doesn’t realize how uncomfortable she is with her. The woman gets everything she wants without adversity, which is nice, but is it a good story? Well yes and no.
There is nothing to ground this story in reality. Not once did I think anything that happened was realistic. Anais lives in a world where she can get constant rent deferrals, she skips her job without getting fired, and she lives practically free in the French countryside paying less than half of her stay. BUT, she strangely adds to the charm of it all. Since I know Anais will win, do I want to see her break up with Emilie? Yes. Do I want to see two characters end up together despite the circumstances? Also if. Is that what the Bourgeois-Tacquet script gives us? Oh yeah!
Anais and Emilie are the only couple that makes sense in this movie, and Demoustier and Tedeschi are a hot couple. They exude sex appeal and charisma. Bourgeois-Tacquet frames them intimately with a series of close-ups and medium shots that accentuate the growing sexual tension between the women. The last scene of the film is simply magical as it is the perfect combination of action, actors and score that romantic comedies are made of while understanding the bisexual experience.
Yes, Anais gets everything she wants, but sometimes it’s nice to let the women win. Understanding her pathos may take some work as the signs are subtle and it may seem like Anais isn’t learning anything new, but that’s not the case. By the end, she is working, writing, and more self-aware. Anais realizes what it feels like to lose and be rejected, even for a brief moment. In the end, we have a woman who grew up a little bit, and the catalyst for that was finding someone that she could connect with beyond sex. Now that’s true love.