Eye For Film >> Movies >> You Deserve A Lover (2019) Film Review
You Deserve A Lover
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Hafsia Herzi proves her talents run deeper than just appearing on screen with her feature-length directorial debut, which she also wrote, that sees a woman trying to get her life back on track after a tough break-up. Sexually frank, though not explicit, her drama paints a complex picture of Lila (Herzi), as she realises that her boyfriend Remi (Jérémie Laheurte), from whom she is currently "taking a break", appears to have already moved on.
Remi's ability to manipulate her is evident from the start and, crucially, Lila herself is also aware of this - with the film accurately capturing the idea of torn emotions, as her head tries to move her heart along while it constantly tugs her back. When he announces that he loves her but that he is also going to "find himself" in Bolivia, it proves a potential catalyst for change.
What follows is a series of moments in Lila's life as she as attempts to propel herself back into the dating scene. That means there is a considerable amount of snogging in this film - and it's to Herzi's credit that she also manages to make this run the gamut of emotions, from the nudging-towards-violent approach of Remi, to quickies in the stairwell and far more affectionate passes. Sex itself is mostly not shown, as its the initial connection with Lila and the emotional aftermath that counts.
Herzi began her career working with Abdellatif Kechiche on The Secret Of The Grain - and she shows a similar interest in naturalism, working well with her fairly sizeable cast to create the vibrant and diverse world for Lila to inhabit. Lila's gay mate Ali, in particular, provides a welcome vein of humour. If there was an Oscar for advice over a bowl of cereal or passive-aggressive crisp eating, Djanis Bouzyani would be a shoo-in as his flamboyant character pumps up the pep talks to try to help his mate get back on the scene. Extra sweetness is provided by the younger Charlie (Anthony Bajon), who is more interested in capturing her on film than in his arms.
Whether she's intercutting dates going in different directions, skewering one man's (Alexander Ferrario) "say anything to get into her knickers" approach or watching Lila trying to navigate an encounter with a pair of swingers (Sophie Garangon and Brice Dulin, having more fun than you might think possible with most of their clothes on) , the focus is firmly on Lila's experience. Even when her friends are horsing about, Herzi often takes time to allow the focus to drift to Lila, so we are keyed in to what she's thinking. Low on budget but big on emotional resonance, Herzi's central character may well deserve a lover - and she certainly has plenty of people willing to try - but she also shows us Lila deserves not to be judged and, most importantly, deserves to live and love on her own terms.Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2019