Another recent French film which did not get any exposure in North America, Someone I Loved is, as the title suggests, a love story. The love story in this case involves an affair between Pierre, a middle-aged French businessman who has two teenage kids and a wife at home, and Mathilde, a beautiful young interpreter he meets on one of his business trips to Hong Kong. So far, the story does not sound very original and, indeed, the love story, as beautifully filmed and acted as it is, is not very original. If that was all there was to the film, I might have yawned and given it *** for aesthetic appeal (Daniel Auteuil and Marie-Josee Croze are perfectly cast and the cinematography and score are both outstanding).
But the hook in Someone I Loved is that Pierre is telling this love story years later to Chloe, his daughter-in-law, a couple of days after his son left her for another woman. Doesn’t sound like a good idea, you say? Well, one might not think so, but Pierre didn’t plan to do it and the result is not what one might expect.
I loved the father-in-law/daughter-in-law part of the film. Auteuil and Florence Loiret Caille do a marvelous job of conveying the pain and vulnerability in both characters. I only wish writer/director Zabou Breitman had spent at least twice as long on that part of the film and shortened the love story accordingly. As it is, this gorgeous frame for the love story lifts Someone I Loved from *** to a solid ***+. If you are looking for an old-fashioned French romantic drama with a twist, you’ll want to check this one out. My mug is up.