‘Romantics Anonymous’ DVD Review
Originally released back in 2010, Jean-Pierre Améris’ lovable comedy Romantics Anonymous didn’t get distributed in the United States until much later. After years of waiting, the film finally got released on home video. While I’d never heard of it beforehand, I’m glad it was finally brought to my attention. This French film might not stand out as one of the best romantic comedies (a tough distinction and unfair comparison anyways), but it’s undeniably sweet.
Angélique (Isabelle Carré) is an awkward, stammering woman who can’t seem to carry on a conversation, much less a relationship, without crumbling beneath her awkwardness. Similarly, Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde) must seek professional help when he can’t seem to interact with women, despite how much he adores them. He is constantly finding himself preoccupied and terrified of the opposite sex. The two are a match made in heaven if they, of course, get up the nerves to talk to each other.
While running his failing chocolate shop, Jean-René hires Angélique as a new sales representative. She originally thought she’d been hired on as a chocolate-maker, but soon finds out her talents are to be used elsewhere. Little do the characters know, but she is actually one of the most renowned chocolate-makers in the whole world. Through their love for chocolate, the two start to learn a lot more about love than they’d originally intended.
Appearing a teensy-bit shallow from the outside, Romantics Anonymous provides a lot more than “cookie-cutter” romances. Instead of presenting two overly attractive leads, the filmmakers make more “real” choices. They cast two stars who know exactly how awkward should look and feel.
Carré and Poelvoorde put their chemistry on display, easily making them among the best on-screen couples. They appear to be the same person (in different forms obviously), but they also realize how their social downfalls can ultimately ruin every relationship. When the film sticks to the food science, the romance doesn’t reach anything too extraordinary deep. However, the film delves into some deeper stuff as the characters find themselves.
As for DVD quality, though, the disc doesn’t add anything substantial. I’d love to champion the movie, but can’t help but feel a little bit let down. Besides the feature presentation, there’s only one bonus feature, which is:
An Interview With Director Jean-Pierre Améris – This very short (less than 4 minutes) interview with the director has some interesting points (especially when he talks about the universal feelings of love), but it isn’t nearly substantial enough.
Unfortunately, the bonus features (or feature, really) ends there. It’s hard to fault the distributors too much, since the film likely wasn’t expected to shatter records.
So, if you are the type of person who buys a DVD for the movie only (there is nothing wrong with this), then Romantics Anonymous is a great choice. Movie-wise, it delivers a bittersweet message (yes, much like the chocolate), without getting annoyingly romantic. It’s cute and quirky without overdoing it. However, when you step back and look at the DVD and all that it entails, it’s nothing overly impressive.
Still, the story is enough for most people, and I can’t fault anyone for giving this one a shot.
Romantics Anonymous is available on Amazon and iTunes.