Love Is In The Air


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ludivine Sagnier and Nicolas Bedos in Love Is In The Air
"There are no prizes for guessing where this sprightly romantic comedy is going, but it's more entertaining than most along the way."

Everybody has their own idea of the worst person to be stuck net to on a transatlantic flight. A screaming baby, perhaps. An exuberant puppy. Somebody who smells really bad. Or perhaps... how about your ex?

Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) and Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) have bumped into one another again in the worst possible place. All the other seats on the plane are taken and they have six hours to go between New York and Paris. It's difficult to ignore somebody for that long, especially when you broke each other's hearts, especially when you're still furious with each other, never mind when there is a distinct possibility that you're still in love. As the two find themselves compelled to talk, other passengers become intrigued by their story, and each of them hears parts of it that haven't been told before.

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There are no prizes for guessing where this sprightly romantic comedy is going, but it's more entertaining than most along the way. False notes are rare, both leads are highly capable, and the script effectively balances its sugary aspects with eloquent bitterness. There's an underlying intelligence too often absent from the genre. Though archetypal in many ways, both characters are well fleshed out and rounded enough to feel like real people. They're also just unpleasant enough to be likeable. Julie is insanely jealous, the sort of possessive partner who pokes through her beloved's social media accounts and then tells him to get rid of female friends. To be fair, Antoine seems to have slept with every woman in Paris, and has a reputation for being unable to remain sexually interested in anyone for more than two weeks. He is a master of romantic clichés, quite openly exploitative, and other people clearly find this fun, but Julie has no patience with it. They're just about as ill-suited a couple as you could find, so that even if we hope they might live happily ever after, there's no escaping from the fact they'd do so fractiously.

Despite the intriguing claustrophobia of the aeroplane setting, we spend a lot of time in flashback, enabling the film to pack in the usual romcom window dressing: beautiful clothes, elegant architecture, delicious looking food. These charms are as superficial as Antoine's but, as with him, there's a sense that something genuinely passionate lies beneath the surface. Most importantly, this is a film clearly made with love, and its warm heartedness will win over many a cynical viewer. If you have to be stuck in a plane with a movie, you could do a lot worse.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2014
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A man and the woman he split up with three years previously meet by chance on a plane.
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Director: Alexandre Castagnetti

Writer: Xavier Nemo, Xavier Nemo, Nirina Ralanto, Nirina Ralanto, Julien Simonet, Julien Simonet, Vincent Angell, Nicolas Bedos, Nicolas Bedos, Brigitte Bémol, Alexandre Castagnetti

Starring: Ludivine Sagnier, Nicolas Bedos, Jonathan Cohen, Arnaud Ducret, Brigitte Catillon, Jackie Berroyer, Clémentine Célarié, Michel Vuillermoz, Lila Salet, Ina Castagnetti, Sophie-Charlotte Husson, Yves Espargilière, Cédric Nouet, David Capelle, Jean-Philippe Goudroye

Year: 2013

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: France


French 2013

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