HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Populaire Type your way to fame and fortuneBuy this film here.
Year: 2012
Director: Régis Roinsard
Stars: Déborah François, Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson, Mélenie Bernier, Nicolas Bedos, Miou-Miou, Eddy Mitchell, Frédéric Pierrot, Féodor Atkine, Marius Colucci, Emeline Bayart, Dominique Reymond, Natassja Girard, Caroline Tillette
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: As a twenty-one year old woman living in a provincial town in 1950s Paris, Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François) seems destined to pass from the control of one man to another now that her father has arranged her engagement to a local mechanic. However, when Rose travels to Lisieux in Normandy an opportunity presents itself when she starts work as a secretary for charismatic insurance salesman Louis Echard (Romain Duris). Despite a disastrous interview, Louis is impressed with Rose’s astonishing speed typing skills. Acting as her coach, he enters Rose in a regional typing contest that sparks a series of events altering both there lives along with a chance for romance.

Recently French critics have despaired at the retro trend in their national cinema, accusing some filmmakers of ignoring contemporary social issues to seek refuge in fanciful, idealised visions of the past. Although Michel Hazanavicius appears to have been the chief target, what with his spy spoof OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006) and Oscar-winning silent masterpiece The Artist (2011) (evidently, nothing aggrieves more than success), newcomer Régis Roinsard drew some flak with Populaire which nonetheless, in keeping with its name (actually derived from a brand of typewriter that plays a prominent role in the plot) proved considerably popular with French filmgoers.

On these shores, Roinsard’s debut was strangely compared with Mad Men, possibly because Romain Duris’ dapper turn parallels Jon Hamm’s sterling work as dapper Don Draper but still odd given the television show takes place in the Sixties and, for all its outstanding qualities, is faintly depressing whereas Populaire unfolds in the previous decade and is decidedly upbeat. A better comparison might be made with the similarly retro rom-com Down with Love (2003) although the tone here is nowhere as ironic and belies its fanciful surface with ambitious layers of social commentary and psychological depth. We discover Louis bears some psychological scars from serving with the resistance during the war and slightly resents his American best friend Bob Taylor (Shaun Benson) for marrying his childhood sweetheart Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and it is implied, eclipsing French social virility with his continuing business success. This subtext comes into play during the rousing finale which answers the question of French relevance in an American-dominated world in delightfully poetic fashion.

The spirits of Stanley Donen and Jacques Demy hover gossamer-like over the art direction and cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman which sparkles pristine in glorious mock Technicolor. But rather than a musical Populaire springs a fresh twist on the sports drama with Louis as the coach and Rose the prodigiously gifted natural athlete, er, typist. The plot follows the expected sports film trajectory from tragedy to triumph complete with rigorous training regime and cathartic feel-good finale, though naturally there is much more at stake here than a simple typing contest. Roinsard posits the typewriter as a force for female liberation in the Fifties, the means by which women were able to earn a wage and shake off social constraints. He uses the typing contest itself as a device to strip away the façade from both hero and heroine, revealing his gallantry and her pluck till they inevitably fall in love. As Rose gains confidence and blossoms as a woman without compromising her integrity or aspirations Roinsard adopts an old familiar movie trick by having François grow increasingly stunning as the film goes along. A huge aspect of the film’s success stems from the phenomenally charismatic pairing of Duris with the delightful François with the latter emerging as gutsy and forthright without looking like an anachronism, which is a tricky thing to do in these films. There is an element of Pygmalion about the plot as Louis grows intimated by his emancipated “creation” till he realises he needs Rose more than she ever needed him. Happily, Roinsard throws in enough plot quirks and poetic allusions to make a familiar story sparkle anew while his whirling camera work and rapid-fire editing invest astonishing energy into the high speed typing contests.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1346 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
29 Feb 2016
  (I'm typing this at 515 strokes per minute, natch) This does what all those computer-based thrillers singularly fail to do, which is make actors using keyboards exciting. It's fairly conventional, but sneaks in a little social commentary that made me warm to it considerably. Immaculately presented as well.

One odd thing, it looked set to be Deborah Francois' international breakthrough, but, er, it wasn't for some reason. I suppose there's still time.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: