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Populaire: movie review

Small-town French girl Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François) dreams of something beyond her provincial life. Since it’s 1958, all the hip mademoiselles are jonesing to be secretaries, so she heads to the city, where she impresses professional-to-a-fault insurance salesman Louis Échard (Romain Duris) with her index-finger typing skills. Échard isn’t really interested in this eager-to-please young lady’s office talents, though—he wants to train her to compete in a worldwide competition for speed writers. But he also has to stop himself from falling in love.

That clack-clack-clacking sound you hear is the pressing of the keys by the millions of screenwriters who’ve come up with similar high-concept comedy templates. If anything distinguishes director Régis Roinsard’s take on well-trod material, it’s his Technicolor-bright widescreen palette (recalling many a late-’50s pillow-talk romance without a hint of snooty irony) and energetically game cast. The usually scruffy and moody Duris turns on the rakish charm and fills out perfectly tailored suits with Don Draper–esque aplomb. Far from her neorealistic debut in the Dardenne brothers’ L’Enfant (2005), François makes for a perfect foil—all kooky naïveté slowly segueing into brash, radiant confidence. Even as the story goes everywhere—and I mean everywhere—you expect, the chemistry between these two inspires a gleefully goofball grin.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday September 6 2013
Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Régis Roinsard
Cast: Romain Duris
Déborah François
Bérénice Bejo
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