Three Hearts and Romantics Anonymous

Source: Pure People

Three Hearts (3 Coeurs) is a French movie that made its North American Premiere at this year’s TIFF. Directed by Benoît Jacquot and starringBenoît Poelvoorde, it is enjoyable and epitomizes the French’s practical take on the romantic genre, which is also evident in Poelvoorde previous movie Romantics Anonymous, directed by Jean-Pierre Améris. In both movies Poelvoorde illness impedes his already troubled romantic life and end in unexpected ways.

Three Hearts is a Midsummer Night’s Dreamesk movie for the modern world. Peolvoorde plays Marc, an accountant who meets and falls for a woman, Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is in a relationship. They fail to meet up again because Marc is delayed by a heart problem and Sylvie goes back to her original relationship and moves to the United States. Marc unknowingly meets and marries Sylvie’s sister, Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni), who is also in a relationship when she meets him.

With the aptly named Romantics Anonymous (Les émotifs anonymes), Director Jean-Pierre Améris strikes a great balance between making a fun romantic comedy and honestly and respectfully portraying people living with mental illness, who the media, particularly TV and Movies, are often shown as dangerous, undependable, and/or weak.

The two main characters, Angélique (Isabelle Carré)  and Jean-René (Poelvoorde) both hide from the world the fact that they are both extremely shy and anxious people. Angelique hides from recognition and faints when she can’t escape, while Jean-René  sweats profusely, is afraid of answering the phone, and is withdrawn causing his employee’s to see him as abrupt and cold. They do not, however, succumb to their illness but seek help. Angelique is part of Emotions Anonymous (EA), a real support group attended by Director Jean-Pierre Améris for people recover from mental and emotional illness. Jean-René sees a therapist who helps him start to open up and eventually start a romantic relationship with Angélique. The director decides not to mention prescription drugs and focus on other treatment options as he also decides bring his character together in an unexpected way.

Both Three Hearts and Romantics Anonymous are great movies with a great cast with great performances. They are well written and, unlike Hollywood films, are realistic and feel like movies for adults. The actors look like real people in real situations and not over stylized models and a fairytale. Only in a French movie could someone who looks like Poelvoorde be given an opportunity to play such complex lead roles. I give Three Hearts 3 and half stars and Romantics Anonymous a Four. I highly recommend that everyone see both movies, Poelvoorde should not suffer in vain.

Esther Simera