Heartbreaker (L'Arnacoeur) Reviews
Stuck between screwball comedy that allows Alex to emerge unscathed from a high-speed collision with a car and honest romance that features Alex and Juliette staring longingly into the sunset, Heartbreaker is a mixed bag that is charming and funny when it's good and insufferably sophomoric when it's bad. Its understanding of relationships seems drawn from Cosmo articles as the film expects us to be that a few faked tears will destroy a relationship, but the stars, Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis, are able to make badly written scenes plausible.
Overall, I liked Heartbreaker in spite of itself.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Question: Ladies, this question goes out to you. What could a guy do that would make you fall in love with him? I know a hard question to answer. I have my thoughts but I am going to keep those to myself. However, I just watched a film called Heartbreaker (I know the title doesn't evoke much confidence in finding true love) and found that sometimes it's what we do that makes the guy fall in love with us first. When that happens, we allow the thought to be possible and then all bets are off. We fall and we fall hard!
Heartbreaker is a French film (L'arnacoeur). I know, not my typical movie genre, but I might have mentioned I am expanding my movie tastes. Plus, I am finding it easier to read subtitles and still see and enjoy the movie. There weren't any movies available at the time at the theatre yesterday that I wanted to see. I waited until the evening to check my Netflix Instant Play queue. Heartbreaker was on my list. It was recommended to me after I posted my last foreign film - Sarah's Key (a French film) so it was on my queue. I watched the preview - yes, I did - and I was intrigued. I remembered it was a comedy (and a romance) and I could really use a comedy these days so I hit PLAY.
So, here's the gist: Alex Lippi (played by Romain Duris) is a break-up artist. People hire him to find the doubt that is already there within a woman so she will break-up with her (usually deadbeat) boyfriend. His job is not to start dating or have them fall in love with him - just make them realize they are with the wrong person. The opening scene(s) showed dozens of women kissing this guy (break-up artist) who just happens to cry in front of them and tell them that they made him feel alive again. Voila! Break-up.
The rest of the film shows Alex and his team hired to break-up a relationship only 10 days before the wedding. Usually that is not enough time but they accept the challenge. Ok - no more details - you have to see it for yourselves. I will say once this part of the movie started I really enjoyed it. As I was watching this film (and reading) I discovered that I was smiling through a lot of it. Sometimes I was even giggling or doing whatever odd facial and hand movements I do when I can't believe I saw what I just saw. You know what I mean, right? Well, if not - just trust me there are some funny parts to Heartbreaker.
So, let's discuss the main actors: Romain Duris. This was my first movie of his but I have feeling it won't be my last. His performance was intriguing to say the least. Although I did not find him all that attractive he had a certain charm and sex-appeal. My focus sharpened whenever he was on screen - which was for the majority of this movie. When there were moments of tender thoughts I felt what he felt. There are only of few of those but he sucked me right in. On the flip-side - his comedic act was a treat to watch as well. Plus, there is one scene that I think those ladies who grew up in the 80's will enjoy - yes, I was one of them.
Juliette Van Der Becq (played by Vanessa Paradis) was the woman he was hired to show her the error of her ways. Some of you might recognize her; she is Johnny Depp's girlfriend. As with Romain Duris, this was my first time seeing her act as well. I may sound a little biased or heavy-handed here but I found her performance to be a bit on the weak side as compared to Romain Duris. She is supposed to be playing this damaged (although we don't know why she is damaged for most of the story), beautiful, wealthy women who is marrying what appears to be the perfect man. So, what's the problem? I know now but it took a while to get there.
So all-in-all I liked Heartbreaker. My first French comedy but I have feeling it won't be my last.
My favorite thing: The dance - I won't describe what that means but I loved it!
My least favorite thing: That I was jealous that it was filmed in Monaco..I so want to see that city.
Rating: Couldn't find a consistent rating but there is cursing and a little nudity.
Length: 105 Minutes
Rating: 7 out of 10
Heartbreaker is a breezy French romantic comedy about a suave man travels about, being paid by wealthy people to break up relationships or engagements between women and the men that they don't love or who are undeserving. He's hired by parents, siblings, and friends to keep the women from making mistakes. With the help of his sister, brother-in-law, and the information they gather about their marks, they efficiently make the women fall for Alex, and in the process, make them realize that they don't love their partner.
They only intervene if they see that the woman is truly unhappy, and they never act on the basis of race or nationality. Alex doesn't sleep with the women, it's all strictly business. That is (there's always a catch) he's hired to thwart an upcoming marriage that seems perfect from the outside, and meets a woman who becomes more than just another job.
There's nothing particularly new or brilliant about Heartbreakers, but it's pleasant enough. It's amusing at times (mostly thanks to the comic relief of the sister and brother-in-law characters), and whoever wrote the script has a definite love for Dirty Dancing. The movie is referenced almost constantly, and there's even a spot-on recreation of a dance scene, near the end. So if you're a big fan of Dirty Dancing, the novelty of that should be a point in Heartbreaker's favor.
Overall, this was an okay movie. There are much worse movies of the type, that's for sure.
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Summary: Alex (Romain Duris) and his sister, Mélanie (Julie Ferrier), and her husband, Marc (François Damiens), earn money by breaking up relationships. But when Alex falls for a client's (Jacques Frantz) daughter, Juliette (Vanessa Paradis), he has to decide if he'll bust up her wedding to Jonathon (Andrew Lincoln), who's truly perfect for her.
My Thoughts: "I don't care how predictable it was, I loved it. The comedy, the actors, the cliche's, and the romance. I loved it all. Very funny film with a couple odd characters (the sister and her husband) that I thought were great and funny. Romain Duris, is cute, charming, and was great in his role as Alex. Vanessa Paradis was great in this as well, playing a strong independent woman with a tough exterior. Loved the car scene with the Wham song.. also the restaurant scene where they payed tribute to 'Dirty Dancing', it was fun. I was surprised there was American music in the film. It's a great movie for those who don't mind subtitles, (there is some english in this as well) and who love rom-coms."
"Heartbreaker" is a moderately appealing movie that works its familiar charms well. Romain Duris makes a good lead, as he is sexy enough to pass as god's gift to women, ironically playing a character who does not live up to the full potential of the characters he plays. Admittedly, the 'seduction by liberation' business is ethically dubious.(As Marc crudely puts it, they seek to open a women's eyes, not her legs.) Even though I am not thrilled about outside intervention except in the case of violence and abuse, I suppose it could work, assuming the woman has never been exposed to true happiness before. In any case, what is truly important are the crazy things we do for love.
Most of the movie consists of Alex and his team's difficult assignment in putting a stop to a wedding that is a week off involving Paradis as Juliette. Her father has mysterious reasons for trying to break up Juliette and her British fiance Jonathan, played by Lincoln. Juliette has a horny ex-best friend that keeps trying to convince her to go astray, but Juliette is a good, classy young lady. Her fiance is a rich philanthropist who seemingly doesn't have any faults and they both are happily in love. Eventually Alex is persistent enough in manipulating Juliette that she does fall for him, and of course the manipulator finds himself thinking of the woman as a real person and not his target. The relationship between the two leads at times reminded me of It Happened One Night or Roman Holiday. The ending is ripped right from It Happened One Night.
Quite sweet light entertainment.