DVD review: Romantics Anonymous

Romantics Anonymous
Romantics Anonymous

If, like me, you’re getting a bit bored of films in which people strut and pose with ghastly-looking guns before blowing each other up, grab yourself a copy of Romantics Anonymous, an exquisitely-engaging French film, so French that its rather clunky English title lets it down.

Les Émotifs Anonymes is one of those films that couldn’t possibly be in any other language than French, a tale rich in nuance and humour of two awkward souls brought together by their love of chocolate.

Jean-René Van Den Hugde (Benoît Poelvoorde) is the owner of a struggling chocolate factory, a man so nervous that any possibility of romantic entanglement sends him scurrying out to the gents so swap his hot-flush-drenched shirt. Angélique Delange (Isabelle Carré) is a uniquely-gifted chocolate-maker so shy of attention that she’s created the myth of the mysterious hermit chocolatier to pass off the gorgeous confectionary she creates.

They come together in each other’s hour of need. And that’s about all there is to it really.

Except that their doubts, their anguishes, their hesitations, their uncertainties are beautifully evoked in a mini-masterpiece of understated emotion.

Director Jean-Pierre Améris gives it none of the bitterness that is apparently the hallmark of great chocolate-making. Instead, he imbues it with all the seduction that is chocolate’s great charm. No saccharine here, simply sweetness in the very best sense of the word.

No special effects. No big budgets. No computer generated nonsense. No bloodshed. Just the most touching of emotions delivered with the surest of touches by a fine director and two actors at the top of their game.

Phil Hewitt

DVD rental supplied by Blockbuster. For details of other new DVD releases see www.blockbuster.co.uk