Critic Consensus: 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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Critic Reviews for Populaire
It's neatly formatted, but if there's a message in the margins of this manuscript, "Populaire" doesn't spell it out.
As romantic comedy it's uneven, but as an ode to something long gone, "Populaire" hits the right notes.
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.
[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.
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.
Audience Reviews for Populaire
There's so much to love about this French romantic comedy that centers on the world of speed tying in the late fifties. As a period piece, this film was produced convincingly. The costumes are authentic, the sets are bright and brilliant, and the attitudes are pure Parisian metropolitan. The subject matter of speed typing was engrossing and was handled splendidly, rising in tension from one scene to the next. The training sessions were interesting, the inner personal relationships were also, and the love story, though mishandled at times, was an adorable adage to the rest of the plot. The competition was so fierce and unbridled that it almost made me uncomfortable, and for some reason the stakes were quite high, even though our main character Rose (Francois) didn't even initially want to compete. This film fuses all the best aspects of the fifties aesthetic with the vintage idyllic themes of a classic love story. It feels quite authentic, and it's beautiful to boot, making it a traditional and yet contemporary film.
This movie, while good, didn't really click for me. The visual style, and presentation, is certainly very charming, but the film's script is very uneven. It's clear that the film is a tribute to old 50s movies, like something Audrey Hepburn would appear in. It's basically a tribute to a time in film that's long gone, and the movie pulls it off very well I thought. The film, other than the fact that it's in color, looks like it could've come straight out of the 50s. The problem is that in concentrating so much of the film on how everything looks and how it sounds, the set design, the costume design, and trying to make sure it feels like it could've come from the 50s, they forgot that they actually had to make the movie, the story, and its characters interesting. The leads are quite good, Deborah Francois has that old Hollywood starlet feel. She's definitely no Audrey Hepburn, but she has that same type of likable charm and presence, and that's exactly what the film needed. She's certainly the highlight of the film. Romain Duris is fine too, but I found his character to be a little uninteresting, especially when compared to Deborah. He's certainly good, but I wasn't a big fan of how his character was handled. The movie lacks substance, it never really feels like these two are falling in love. It really is concentrated in style of substance and actual character development, and that's the film's biggest downfall. Your film can have the best set design, the costume design, the best score...but if your story isn't interesting then all that, while it's not unimportant, is wasted. You went through all that work trying to make the film look and film genuine, that you forgot the most important part of the film, the part that matters most in the long run, and that's the story and the characters. And I don't mean to say the film's bad, as implied by the score I gave it, the cast is solid and the film is, visually, very charming. It just should've been much better considering how much work went into everything else. Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't into this movie that much. It wasn't exactly an interesting story or an heartwarming love story, it's still a perfectly solid movie.
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.
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