Summer Things (Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez)

Holiday romances, French-style

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OPENED MAY 30, CERT 15, 103 MINS

Adapted from British writer Joseph Connolly’s novel, legendary French actor Michel Blanc’s fourth film as director is a subtle comedy of manners. In less sedate hands it could’ve been a breathless farce. But, riddled as it is with absurdly striking cheekbones (the women aren’t bad, either), it’s a very stylish, middlebrow soap.

A group of friends holiday together in Normandy. Some can’t afford the hotel, and jolly larks are had as they try to hide their poverty. Jerome is suicidal, Jean-Pierre’s a jealous maniac, and Julie deserts her baby to frolic with Maxime. Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling) looks broody a lot and then woos a lovestruck teenager.

Blanc adeptly uses the photogenic qualities of the iconic Rampling and Carole Bouquet, the grumpiness of Jacques Dutronc, and the beauty of Clotilde Courau, who all help render a so-so story highly seductive.

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