One dictionary definition of the word ‘delicacy’ might include: something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness, or the like: Caviar is a great delicacy.
Another could be: a sensitive and careful way of dealing with a difficult situation.
Discarding the first definition would lead you to the second and you’d arrive at the 2011 film, Delicacy. starring Audrey Tautou. The paper sleeve for the Delicacy DVD contained a description written by the Netflix staff:
Tragic circumstances create an opportunity for new love in this romantic drama when a young woman, still grieving over the death of her husband years ago, is slowly brought out of her shell by a caring and courtly co-worker.
Tautou stars as Nathalie, who as the film begins, sells programs at a Parisian dramatique theatre. But romance arrives and quickly. A guy (Francois) is having coffee and notices Nathalie as she comes in and sits down at another table.
Francois: [As Nathalie peruses the menu] If she’s ordinary and orders coffee, I’ll be disappointed. Ditto for juice. But if she orders apricot juice – then I’ll speak to her.
Waiter: Are you ready to order?
Nathalie: I’ll have coffee … no make that juice … apricot juice …
And voila, soon Nathalie and Francois are married and hosting a dinner party for her parents and his. All of whom are wishing for grandchildren. Before coffee and dessert are even finished, Nathalie and Francois excuse themselves to go off to make a baby.
Did I mention that this romantic film is a bit off-beat?
But Francois meets his destiny when he’s jogging and an automobile enters his space. Nathalie is now a widow. Three years pass. She’s still a widow and has done well in her career. She an exec for a Swedish firm in Paris that is promoting tourism in Sweden.
Word around the office is that Nathalie has no life other than work. And it’s been three years since Francois died. Her boss, Charles, has had his eye on her for a while. And yes, he’s married.
Did I mention that this is a French romantic drama where affairs are the norm?
But she makes it clear, at a dinner with Charles – that she’s NOT attracted to him. And at some point in time, when she’s ready to move on, it still WON’T be with him.
Nathalie has a guy on her staff, a big dude, a Swede called Markus Lundl played by Francois Damiens, who is something like a French version of Timothy Busfield. He’s kind of bland, not a sharp dresser, and is definitely not discussed as some one of interest by the ladies in the office.
Nathalie and Markus are working on a case. He comes in to discuss this case, and out of the blue, Nathalie gets up from her desk, crosses the room, and plants one big monster kiss on Markus. He’s speechless. So are we. And just to make the point, Nathalie must have thought she was dreaming because she didn’t even realize what she had done. So Markus is dumbfounded. He excuses himself and leaves the office. He’s headed for his own fantasy world.
The next day, Markus goes back to Nathalie’s office as the case still needs to be discussed. But, after Markus brings up yesterday’s kiss, Nathalie claims she has no memory of any kiss – and what is he talking about?
Did I mention, that any French romantic dramedy which is off-beat, or quirky, is quite often illogical.
And so begins Markus and Nathalie.
This is not a major film, and it is decidedly a minor film in the Tautou folio. But it is a look at real people. People who don’t wear glamorous clothes, drive expensive cars, and have country villas. While we watch Nathalie and Markus, with all their ‘proverbial warts and blemishes’ on view, we do identify with them – despite all their off-beat and illogical quirks. The thing of it is, Markus may not attract gazes as he crosses a room, but he is a very decent, sensitive, and caring guy. And these are the traits that the Directors David Foenkinos, and his brother Stephane Foenkinos are ‘selling’ as the film’s highlight. Or as the trailer says – this is a film about life, fate, and other delicacies.
While this is not the Tautou of Amelie – this is a film that has enough fine moments to make it enjoyable if not memorable. It may not be a delicacy like caviar, but it certainly fits into the category of a delectable bon-bon. Three point two five is the rating.
Check out the trailer.