He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not (2002) – A Review
We see two dramatically different perspectives of a ‘love story’.
Let me say now, there’s spoilers that follow. The synopsis itself reveals the films ‘twist’ so to speak. So, if you really want to fully enjoy and experience a unique film, don’t read any further or read or watch anything about it and just go watch the movie!
Now for the breakdown, which I shouldn’t really feel too badly about since the marketing of the film and any article about it reveals the overall plot – which is kind of spoiler-ish on its own – but even knowing it it’s still a very worthwhile film to see.
Plus, it’s not like it’s a real recent movie. Is there a certain amount of time a movie has where you have to maintain its secrets? An expiration of finally being able to talk about a movie’s twists and not have to worry about spoiling it for anyone?
On one side of this tale is, Audrey Tautou is French artist Angélique who is having a wonderful love affair with handsome cardiologist Loic Le Garrec (Samuel Le Bihan). There’s only problem – he’s married with a baby on the way.
Angélique is undeterred with her devotion to him and is unwaveringly optimistic that Loic will leave his wife and they will end up together to live happily ever after.
Sounds like a sad sweet story from her side. Then we get Loic’s viewpoint of this ‘romance’ and it’s much, much different. His life is being turned into a stress-filled nightmare as he’s being harassed by this anonymous stalker.
Strange gifts keep arriving for him, unusual letters become more disturbing and he become suspicious of everyone around him. His wife doesn’t believe him when he claims he has no idea who this person is or what it all means. The situation looks to be on the road to having a tragic ending.
The structured telling of this romance/thriller could easily have been a showy gimmick, but director Laetitia Colombani puts the pieces together in way that makes each half a compelling enough tale on its own. When we get the chance to fill in the gaps with Loic’s side and see the entire story it becomes a revealing effective thriller.
It’s a smart weaving of two halves and it doesn’t dumb things down and wave its arms to make sure we understand all the details that are occurring in a particular scene. It’s a movie worth paying attention to. It’s probably worth watching again just to see how the pieces of this bizarre puzzle all fit together.
As I said, this could have turned into a novelty, but the story on its own is a good one. Tautou and Le Bihan are both very good in their respective halves. The casting of the adorable Tautou is especially clever.
With so many of us associating her with light wholesome French romance thanks to Amélie, she’s the perfect vehicle to use as the female lead to what initially looks like just another sweet French love story, but turns into something much different. Tautou really sells her obsession. She must have had some fun playing against her popular image in this.
It’s much better than so many of the ‘stalker/thriller’ movies that Hollywood made in the Fatal Attraction wake. This would be a nice date movie to watch with someone who has no clue as to the twist. It will probably catch them off guard. Yet, even if you know what to expect with the second half it’s still entertaining to watch it all unfold.