L’Homme Fidele (A Faithful Man)

With no cinemas for us to visit in these strange times in which we live, Cinefile have decided to release selected films on their Cinefile Vimeo on Demand Platform.

First up we have Louis Garrel’s romantic comedy (a bit too sophisticated, perhaps, for the “rom-com” categorisation? Maybe, maybe not). Garrel himself takes the male lead role as Abel, who finds himself bounced between two lovers, Marianne (Laetitia Casta) and Eve (Lily-Rose Depp). What a hard life, eh? I’m afraid your heart-searching throughout this predicament isn’t about to get you much in the way of sympathy from either men or women, Louis.

There’s a touch of the Woody Allens about this scenario, with two very attractive women desiring the same man, and one of them, Lily-Rose, being considerably younger. But having said all this, Garrel handles it all with a lightness of touch that makes for a very attractive, very watchable film.

The opening scene takes place in Marianne and Abel’s flat, where Marianne casually asks Abel if he’s got a minute, before announcing that she’s pregnant, before telling him the father is his best friend Paul, and it would be good if he left, as she and Paul are getting married. This happens in a quiet, understated fashion, and Abel duly leaves.

Going forward 9 years, Paul dies suddenly, and Abel attends his funeral and makes contact with Marianne and her son, Joseph. But Paul’s kid sister Eve also makes contact with Abel, and she’s had a crush on him for years, and is now old enough to do something about that.

And so Abel is caught between the remarkably accommodating Marianne, who suggests he sleep with Eve 2 or 3 times – just to get it out of her system – and Eve, who is intent on making her teenage fantasies come true (it has to be said that Eve definitely comes into the “adorable but loopy” category). Abel doesn’t seem to have much of a say in this, but at the same time, you don’t see him objecting.

And it all works out in the end, everyone seems happy, and it’s a charming, undemanding watch.

Jim Welsh

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