Anaïs in Love is much more than crazy crazy love

Anais in love (15A) stars Anaïs Demoustier as the eponymous heroine, a young Parisian literature student who feels that “she doesn’t know how to love”. However, she tries the old college: pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby (Christophe Montenez), Anaïs embarks on an affair with the much older Daniel (Denis Podalydès), only to discover that she is much more attracted to the little girl. Daniel’s friend, Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi).

Sure, nobody pranks the bedroom like the French (and here we even get the bonus of a lemur being sabotaged by Xanax), but there’s more to writer-director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s film madly in love. Instead, it’s more interested in exploring the limits – if limits – to a woman’s independence and charting the unusual but deeply moving bond that develops between Anaïs and Emilie.

The eponymous heroine Anaïs Demoustier believes that “she does not know how to love”.

This bond is one that transcends sexual attraction to become something deeper. Indeed, their age difference—Anaïs is young enough to be Emilie’s daughter—suggests that the characters are different iterations of the same person: the young student working on a thesis on descriptions of passion in the 17th century could very easily become a world-weary bestselling author unsatisfied with the way she accepted second best in love.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Anaïs Demoustier are great together, generating utterly believable chemistry — physical and otherwise — with Demoustier in captivating form as a fickle, unstoppable force of nature.

(cinema release)

About Herbert L. Leonard

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