Audrey Tautou is best known for romantic comedy Amélie but her follow-up He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not cleverly subverts her most famous role.
Here’s how the Audrey Tautou-fronted He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not is the dark flipside of Amélie. French actress Audrey Tautou found international fame with Amélie – the Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien: Resurrection) directed romantic comedy that warmed hearts across the world back in 2001. Tautou plays the title character, a shy and lonely Montmartre waitress who resolves to better the lives of her family, friends and co-workers through a series of quirky acts of kindness and finds love and happiness herself along the way.
The film is an utter charm-fest from beginning to end. Paris is shot so gorgeously it’s easy to see why it’s nicknamed the “City of Love” while Tautou is perfect as the wide-eyed, whimsical Amélie even if her character’s surreptitious methods of improving the lives of those around her and nabbing love are often borderline creepy. It’s the type of role that could’ve easily seen Tautou typecast for years to come had she not followed up with He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not which both plays up to and against her Amélie role.
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Released in 2002, He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not is the directorial feature debut of French filmmaker and actress Laëtitia Colombani and stars Audrey Tautou as Angélique – a dreamy, doe-eyed art student who doesn’t seem too different from Amélie at first. Angélique’s love story is less innocent than Amélie’s, however, given she’s in a relationship with a dashing but married cardiologist named Loïc (Samuel Le Bihan) who she’s convinced will soon leave his pregnant wife for her. Nevertheless, she spends the first part of the movie fawning around and sending her beloved tokens of affection.
But romantic comedy this is not and He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not soon suggests Angélique may be madly in love – quite literally. The truth is revealed when the film switches gears entirely and retells events from the perspective of Angélique’s paramour Loïc. It turns out the pair were never together and Angélique suffers from erotomania – a delusional state in which a person believes another is in love with them. After a brief encounter with Loïc, Angélique imagined their whole “relationship” and did some drastic things to sustain her delusion.
There’s another twist at the end of the romantic thriller that won’t be spoiled here, and while the movie doesn’t exactly tread new ground, it’s nonetheless a more interesting take than the typical “woman scorned” movies out there. One thing that really makes He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not work, of course, is its proximity to Amélie and how the movie and its star Audrey Tautou artfully subvert audience expectations.
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