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The Names of Love (2011)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 9

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,316

My Rating

Movie Info

Young extrovert Baya Benmahmoud lives by this classic motto: "Make love, not war." In order to convert them to her cause, she sleeps with her political enemies - which means a lot of men, because every conservative is her enemy. So far, she's gotten good results. Until she meets Arthur Martin, 40-something. She figures that with such a common name (there are more than 10,000 Arthur Martins in France), he's bound to be a real conservative and thus hard to convert. Yet, names are treacherous and


Art House & International, Comedy

Michel Leclerc, Baya Kasmi

Oct 18, 2011


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All Critics (51) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (13)

There's a taste of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Something Wild" "Forces of Nature" and even "Bringing Up Baby," perhaps the best of the wild child-seduces-straight arrow romances.

October 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's always entertaining, and it boasts a terrific performance from Sara Forestier.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A bit jarring while still totally disarming, The Names of Love stirs the pot in more ways than one.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The elements of sex, race and religion spin in separate orbits, but the two likable leads hold them together as the film grows surprisingly serious.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's all put across with such energy and good spirits that it feels brand new. If you don't enjoy this one, you don't like fun.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a playfully sexy farce that plays like a Gallic "Annie Hall" - if Annie had been as blithe about nudity as Baya is.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An edgy French twist on the old Hollywood "meet cute" romance.

January 6, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

It's a credit to the talents of his cast as well as to Leclerc's ability to juggle comedy and drama that The Names of Love manages to be so winning a concoction.

January 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Your name is your destiny ... but not always

November 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The far-left lead character in The Names of Love is so enchanting even Rush Limbaugh would give her the time of day.

November 2, 2011 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

What is so surprising -- even exhilarating -- about The Names of Love is that it shucks off the desultory roadblocks that engine the modern romantic comedy.

October 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It's a familiar story, but one that Leclerc tells with a lot of energy and ingenuity.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Any movie that can wring hilarity out of a scene in which the heroine keeps making inadvertent Holocaust references has to be doing something right.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

A modest bit of fun.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Comment (1)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's commendable to want to mix serious ideas and emotional complexity into a light comedy, but you need to have a point that goes deeper than "bigotry is bad."

August 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

An extreme scenario, yes, but really just a new French take on the time-old screwball comedy motif: straight guy meets crazy gal.

August 21, 2011 Full Review Source: IdentityTheory

Noteworthy...for wrapping a message about overcoming ethnic and political differences in the trappings of a conventional romantic comedy, and being largely successful at such a tricky task.

August 17, 2011 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

A meretricious mix of lechery, kitsch, bad taste, and glib political correctness.

August 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for The Names of Love

A delicious romantic comedy, funny and thought-provoking, with an intelligent commentary on politics and society. But it stands out more for its originality and for being as atypical as its eccentric characters, who we easily learn to care about.
March 25, 2012

Super Reviewer

A romantic comedy as only the French can do it! Two unlikely characters meet and fall in love, although the road to get there is never smooth. Sarah Forestier, as Baya, the free-spirited daughter of an Algerian immigrant father and a left-wing activist French mother, meets Arthur Martin (like the cooker), played by Jacques Gamblin, an uptight son of a Jewish woman and a father descended from Greek immigrants. Ms Forestier is a blue-eyed dark haired beauty who captivated this viewer from the outset. This one had the viewer laughing and crying at the antics of these star-crossed lovers who somehow make it work in the end. The filmmaker's style seems to have been influenced by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, in it's use of flashback with voice-over narration, and the saturated colors in some of the scenes. And that was a good thing, as it enhanced the emotional impact of the film. A terrific story, that had me rooting for these two the whole way through!
January 22, 2013
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

"The Names of Love" starts with Arthur Martin(Jacques Gamblin), an expert in bird diseases, minding his own business on a call-in radio show, urging precaution over the death of a duck.(It was Elmer Fudd I tell you! Because it's duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season...whoa. Where was I? Oh yeah.) Baya Benmahmoud(Sara Forestier), angry at what she was hearing in her very temporary job answering the telephone, charges into the studio to give everybody a piece of her mind. Afterwards, Baya approaches Arthur about having sex together. Rewind a bit to when Arthur's mother(Michele Moretti) survived the Holocaust and Baya's father(Zinedine Soualem) was living in Algeria.

A lot of what I don't like about romantic comedies is that they are generally not about anything, fantasies that think they are set in the real world. By contrast, "The Names of Love" incorporates fantasy elements in its witty and sexy deconstruction of identity in modern day France with a couple of classic sight gags to illustrate, offset with a melancholy undercurrent. As Arthur and Baya show us what had to happen for them to meet(In return, Arthur is occasionally advised by his teenaged self(Adrien Stoclet).), we see how their lives were shaped by events beyond their control. To challenge those forces, people including Baya's mother(Carole Franck), attempt to change the laws of the country to make it a better place to live. In response to being sexually abused by her piano teacher as a child, Baya decides to become a 'political whore.' The trick in the present day is to not let the political become personal. That's not to mention the cool stuff you can learn from this movie like how the QWERTY keyboard originated.
July 18, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Arthur Martin: Hi my family was gassed. How are you?
    – Submitted by Amanda H (2 years ago)
    1. Bahia Benmahmoud: The day there's nothing but half-breeds there'll be peace. We're the future of humanity.
    2. Arthur Martin: That's hybrid vitality.
    3. Bahia Benmahmoud: What?
    4. Arthur Martin: In biology, two animals which mate despite having different genetic inheritance.
    5. Bahia Benmahmoud: That's beautiful.
    – Submitted by Amanda H (2 years ago)
    1. Bahia Benmahmoud: Our families are like two slices of history making love! It makes me want to cry.
    – Submitted by Amanda H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Name der Leute (DE)
  • The Names of Love (Le nom des gens) (UK)
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