By Dirk Sonniksen | January 28, 2014
Director: Alexandre Castagnetti
Writer(s): Vincent Angell (scenario), Nirina Ralanto (adaptation), Brigitte Bémol (adaptation), Julien Simonet (adaptation), Xavier Nemo (adaptation), Alexandre Castagnetti (adaptation), Nicolas Bedos (adaptation)
Starring: Ludivine Sagnier, Nicolas Bedos, Jonathan Cohen
Finishing up her visit to New York, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) is boarding a plane back to Paris. Little does she know, Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) is also returning to Paris—on the same plane. This seems normal as most of the folks on the plane appear to be French natives, but as luck would have it, Julie and Antoine are seated next to each other. Again, not a big deal were it not for the fact that Julie and Antoine were romantic at one time—and things did not end well. Not that Julie and Antoine didn’t have their moments of bliss (they certainly did), but as with all failed relationships, those negative memories are the ones that flare up during conversations between ex-lovers. And so it goes, as Julie and Antoine relive their past (again, mostly the bad stuff), on a plane bound for France. What will become of these two? Will they rip each other to shreds in business class, or will that euphoric spark ignite once again?
Well, don’t look to me to give away the ending, but it is a French romantic comedy. Love Is In The Air is actually kind of a joy to watch mainly because Ludivine Sagnier and Nicolas Bedos work so well together. There’s some great chemistry between our two ex-lovers and the remainder of the cast as well, with Michel Vuillermoz, who plays Georges the flight attendant, providing some wonderful comedic interplay with our two leads.
Love Is In The Air does have a decidedly French bent to it. Similar films made in America typically resort to slapstick moments to pacify audiences, and frankly, it’s old hat. Instead, director Alexandre Castagnetti relies primarily on good old sarcasm, something that seems to be disappearing over here in the states. There’s nothing quite so refreshing as a good dose of dry humor to satisfy a cynic like myself and Love Is In the Air has just enough.
Another boost for the film is that Julie and Antoine are presented as equals, more or less. Yes, Antoine is a womanizer and a drunk perhaps, but Julie is not without her faults. Both man and woman are damaged goods (aren’t we all?) and Castagnetti provides a nice balancing act between the two. The approach is appealing, avoiding the sexism (the guy is a lazy dope, but the girl brings him around, or the girl is completely inept without her burly man) that plagues movies, television, and commercials.
Love Is In The Air is slick and stylish with solid performances to round out the film. Although Julie and Antoine are on a plane for a fair amount the film, there are some wonderful shots of Paris, with a tasty soundtrack to accompany said shots, and costuming that adds charm to Julie and Antoine’s characters. All of this culminates into a film where one wouldn’t mind stepping into the shoes of Julie or Antoine, regardless of their baggage, and that’s really what makes movies fun. Love Is In The Air is also a great date movie—which is no doubt why it’s premiering just in time for Valentine’s Day.