Populaire (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Populaire (2013)



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.

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. Unwittingly, the young woman awakens the dormant sports fan in Louis. If she wants the job she'll have to compete in a speed typing competition. Whatever sacrifices Rose must make to reach the top, Louis declares himself her trainer. He'll turn her into the fastest girl not only in the country, but in the world! But a love of sport doesn't always mix well with love itself. -- (C) Weinsteinmore
Rating: R (for a scene of sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Régis Roinsard, Daniel Presley, Romain Compingt
In Theaters:
Box Office: $0.2M
The Weinstein Company - Official Site


Romain Duris
as Louis Echard
Déborah François
as Rose Pamphyle
Bérénice Bejo
as Marie Taylor
Shaun Benson
as Bob Taylor
Mélanie Bernier
as Annie Leprince Ringu...
Nicolas Bedos
as Gilbert Japy
as Madeleine Echard
Frederic Pierrot
as Jean Pamphyle
Feodor Atkine
as André Japy
Dominique Reymond
as Mrs. Shorofsky
Eddy Mitchell
as Georges Echard
Marius Coluci
as Lucien Echard
Emeline Bayart
as Jacqueline Echard
Yannik Landrein
as Léonard Echard
Nastassja Girard
as Evelyne Echard
Jeanne Cohendy
as Françoise
Serpentine Teyssier
as Boarding School Prop...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Populaire

Critic Reviews for Populaire

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (21)

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

Full Review… | September 26, 2013
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
Seattle Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 13, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 12, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 12, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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!

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.

Nicolas Korovessis

Super Reviewer

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