Vincent (Kyan Khojandi) is a perennial nice guy who lives alone with his cat. He is unassuming, shy, and tied to his mother’s apron stings. She lives in the apartment above him and he looks after her since his father passed away. A chance encounter leads to Vincent meeting grocery store proprietor, Rosalie (NoÃ©mie Lvovsky). Overwhelmed by a feeling of dÃ©jÃ -vu, Vincent is compelled to follow Rosalie in an attempt to find out more about her. But she quickly cottons on to Vincent’s crude attempts at espionage and deploys the services of her unemployed niece, Aude (Alice Isaaz), to follow Vincent in return.
French comedy Rosalie Blum is the directorial debut of screenwriter Julien Rappeneau (36th Precinct, Paris 36), and is based on a popular graphic novel series. Despite its fairly anodyne title, Rosalie Blum is one of those heartwarming and sincere movies that only the stoniest heart and blackest souls could ignore. Rappeneau delivers a warm and funny film that has much in common with the more uplifting work of Swedish director Lukas Moodysson (We Are the Best!).
The story is told in three parts, each focusing on one of the three central characters ““ Vincent, Rosalie and Aude ““ and we revisit shared events through their perspectives, each time receiving a little more information as the pieces fall into place. Once Rosalie gets wise to Vincent’s snooping and turns the tables on him, we find ourselves in the midst of a good old-fashioned caper as Aude and her friends investigate.
As Vincent, Kyan Khojandi is fantastic; an unassuming every-man you desperately want to get a win. Alice Isaaz is mesmerising as Aude, forming the kind of relationship with her Aunt that she is missing within her close family. The titular Rosalie is probably the most complex of the three main leads, and NoÃ©mie Lvovsky is spot-on as she deftly plots her character arc on an axis of mischief and sadness. The rest of the cast also excel and Aude’s friends, Laura (Camille Rutherford) CÃ©cile (Sara Giraudeau) and Kolocataire (Philippe Rebbot), provide joyous comic relief and support when needed.
The key to Rosalie Blum‘s success is that it centres on a cast of very appealing characters. Establishing them as people who are well intentioned and kind removes much of the creepiness the reality of this situation might present. In the real world, we might balk at a person following a stranger around town, but such is their likability here, we root for Vincent to pull away from his overbearing mother, for Aude to conquer her apathy, and for Rosalie to come to terms with a past sadness. In addition, the bonds formed between the characters feel genuine and uplifting as they unfold.
Getting right down to it, Rosalie Blum is your classic tale of a lonely man with a big heart, but it’s completely impossible to be cynical about movie so determined to make you feel good. Despite some darker moments, there is a perpetual sense of fun throughout, and a sweetness that never falls on the wrong side of sentimentality. It’s a perfect pick-me-up movie and an absolute pleasure to watch.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10