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Populaire (2013)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 60
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 16

The cheerfully frothy Populaire may lack substance, but its visual appeal -- and director Roinsard's confident evocation of 1950s filmmaking tropes -- help carry the day.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 7

The cheerfully frothy Populaire may lack substance, but its visual appeal -- and director Roinsard's confident evocation of 1950s filmmaking tropes -- help carry the day.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 2,686

My Rating

Movie Info

Spring, 1958: 21-year-old Rose Pamphyle lives with her grouchy widower father who runs the village store. Engaged to the son of the local mechanic, she seems destined for the quiet, drudgery-filled life of a housewife. But that's not the life Rose longs for. When she travels to Lisieux in Normandy, where charismatic insurance agency boss Louis Echard is advertising for a secretary, the ensuing interview is a disaster. But Rose reveals a special gift - she can type at extraordinary speed.


Drama, Comedy

Régis Roinsard, Daniel Presley


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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (16)

It's neatly formatted, but if there's a message in the margins of this manuscript, "Populaire" doesn't spell it out.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As romantic comedy it's uneven, but as an ode to something long gone, "Populaire" hits the right notes.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even when there's tragedy around the turn, it doesn't matter. Populaire plays like a musical - you expect anyone, at any time, to break into song.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Populaire] does run through the expected paces with admirable style, with a glossy, Technicolor production design that sometimes makes it seem it might have been made in the '50s, not just set there.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Roinsard, who wrote his feature debut with Daniel Presley and Romain Compingt, is unabashedly in love with cheesy, cornball sentiment, which he dusts off and polishes to a fair-thee-well.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Is this remake really necessary? Maybe not, but to worry about that is to risk missing out on a lot of fun.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A clever movie of considerable wit and charm. Its only fault is that it could have been a bit shorter and benefitted from the trim. Still, it's time well spent.

October 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

There is really no film to compare it to.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

After all those words pounded onto the typewriter, this throwback finds a way to capture the big L in any language.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: RedEye

As if Mad Men had never happened, French romantic comedy Populaire takes a breezy, light-hearted approach to the late-1950s world of brooding male bosses and their demurely pretty secretaries.

September 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

It works on a design porn level, but that's about it.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's a gorgeous picture that's highly amusing, allowing viewers to lose themselves in the fantasy of love, rivalry, and typing. Yes, typing. Any film that can make typewriters as cool as hot rods deserves a look.

September 18, 2013 Full Review Source:

Never less than cute

September 14, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

There's a breezy throwback quality that adds a modest level of amusement and visual flair to this otherwise predictable French romantic comedy.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

A nice throwback, but less typing, please.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

This first-time feature from director Regis Roinsard explodes with color and fun as it resurrects the spirit and fashions of those Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies from the 1950s.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Daily Herald (IL)

director Régis Roinsard makes his feature debut with this utterly adorable romantic comedy which feels like something right out of the 1950's without any annoying tongue-in-cheek irony.

September 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Populaire

Rose (Francois) is an awkward but pretty girl living with her widowed father in a small Northern French town in 1958. When she applies for a position as secretary to handsome local insurance man Louis (Duris), her impressive typing speed gets her the job. Once in the position, Louis discovers Rose is a disaster, thanks to her clumsiness. Her one skill, that of typing at an incredibly rapid pace, intrigues Louis however, who insists she enter a local speed-typing competition. When she succeeds at this, Louis devises a rigorous training schedule for Rose, with the aim of entering the national championships.

The idea of taking an obscure sporting or competitive event as the backdrop for a comedy has been milked to death in recent comedies. We've seen figure-skating in 'Blades of Glory', ping-pong in 'Balls of Fury', and dodgeball in, well, 'Dodgeball'. None of those movies worked for one very simple reason; they revolved around one joke and died stretching it out to feature length. With this knowledge, I expected little from Roinsard's debut feature. Thankfully, he's used the concept of speed-typing as no more than a "MacGuffin". It's simply the backdrop to what is, essentially, a homage to the technicolor world of fifties Hollywood.

France never had this sort of cinema back then and there's a sense that Roinsard is trying to rectify this. The film is awash with references to that golden age of entertainment, from the primary colors of MGM musicals to a Saul Bass influenced credit sequence. There's even a 'Vertigo' homage which, unlike last year's 'The Artist', pays respect in the correct manner. Duris and Francois are playing the sort of roles Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have taken over half a century ago. Due to its fifties setting, accusations of male chauvinism may be leveled but, thankfully, Roinsard makes no concessions to modern sensibilities, (unlike Spielberg's 'Lincoln'). His film bears no resemblance to reality, instead it's set in the world of the cinema. In real-life, Normandy is a drab, grey region, lacking the brightness and color on display here. This is what movies of this nature do, they transport you from the humdrum of reality into a world where something as simple as a room of frantically typing secretaries can explode with the energy of a Busby Berkeley dance number. In French, the word "entertainment" literally translates as "diversion" and, as diversions go, 'Populaire' is one this year's best.
C'est le divertissement!
May 21, 2013
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

A delightful and sweet film which oozes aroma of cinema how it used to be in the 50s and 60s: innocent and breezy bringing a sense of nostalgia to those who are 40+. It could have been a real gem if Romain Duris did not have the charm of a plasterboard.
July 12, 2013

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Foreign Titles

  • Mademoiselle Populaire (DE)
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