There are a lot of uncertainties in the world at the moment, and it’s easy to feel fear, anxiety, or stress. One of the best things about reading a book or watching a movie is that it transports us into another world. And perhaps, for an hour or two, we can forget about the-pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named. So, take a break and escape into one of these lighthearted, feel-good French flicks.
“Intouchables” is a French comedy-drama based on the true story of Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic, and Driss, a young Senegalese man from the banlieue (the suburbs on the outskirts of French cities). Driss (Omar Sy) attends a job interview to be Philippe’s (François Cluzet) caretaker in order to fulfil his welfare requirements, but unexpectedly gets the job.
An unlikely friendship soon develops between the two as they help each other overcome their apparent shortfalls. “Intouchables” became the second biggest box office hit in France, and the most viewed French film in the world. Omar Sy won Best Actor at the 2012 César Awards, and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award.
Romantics Anonymous / Les Émotifs Anonymes
“Romantics Anonymous” is a French-Belgian romantic comedy about a gifted chocolatière Angélique, who is hired by Jean-René to work in his struggling chocolaterie. Angélique soon falls for her boss, but both are afflicted by crippling social anxiety that gets in the way of their relationship developing. And, their attempt to save the chocolaterie from ruin. “Romantics Anonymous” won Best Foreign Film in Coproduction at the 2012 Magritte Awards, and Isabelle Carré (who plays Angélique) was nominated for Best Actress at the 2011 César Awards.
Heartbreaker / L’Arnacœur
Alex, played by Romain Duris, is a professional heartbreaker who runs a business breaking up couples, but only when the woman in the relationship is unhappy. A wealthy man asks him to prevent his daughter’s impending marriage. But Juliette, played by Vanessa Paradis, and her fiancé seem like the perfect couple, and are very much in love. This puts Alex’s skills to the test. This rom-com was a big hit when it was released in France, clocking 1.7 million admissions in its opening weekend and receiving nominations for several awards.
Priceless / Hors de Prix
In a luxury hotel, a bartender is mistaken for a millionaire by a beautiful young woman who dates older, rich men to fund her lavish lifestyle. After a romantic night together, Irène, played by Audrey Tautou, discovers Jean’s true identity and leaves him. Jean follows Irène to the Côte d’Azur, and soon becomes involved with a wealthy widow himself. Irène teaches him the tricks of the trade but soon starts to question whether money is more important than love.
After You / Après Vous
A restaurant waiter, Antoine, saves Louis from committing suicide after suffering a broken heart. Antoine tries to help Louis get back on his feet by letting him live in his apartment and getting him a job in his restaurant. He then goes in search of Louis’ ex in an attempt to get them back together, but inadvertently falls in love with her himself. Daniel Auteuil, who plays Antoine, won Best Actor at the 2004 Étoiles d’Or.
All That Glimmers / Tout ce qui brille
“All That Glimmers” is a French comedy and banlieue film (a genre of films about the banlieues and their inhabitants), but not as we know it. Banlieue films are typically male-centric and tend to focus on violence and crime. “All That Glimmers,” on the other hand, follows two young women who attempt to climb the ladder of Parisian society, testing their friendship. It’s refreshing to see female friendship, identity, and solidarity foregrounded in this film. The directors of “All That Glimmers” won Best First Film at the 2011 Étoiles d’Or, and Leïla Bekhti won Most Promising Actress at the 2011 César Awards.
- Check out some of our favorite French Netflix films.
- And, our top French Netflix series.
- Read this review of Intouchables by the New York Times.
Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.