How come onetime successful Parisian author Paul (Stéphane Guillon) is now scraping along writing funeral speeches for the bereaved? The answer, we learn, is that he never got over losing his own wife, but when widow Emma (Julie Gayet) enter his life as a prospective client, things start looking up. The actress’s name ring a bell? She’s now better known as President Hollande’s ‘secret’ squeeze, and her slightly strait-laced charm just about holds this loopy, bittersweet affair together.
To be fair, the film avoids a familiar rom-com formula, but that’s because it starts out in Gallic Richard Curtis territory then takes a screeching turn into supernatural terrain while trying to pretend all is well. That’s a truly ungainly combination, and if the results are semi-amusing, occasionally even slightly touching, attempts at magical whimsy fall flat and the notion of giving hangdog Guillon a loveable elderly Holocaust victim for a neighbour was a complete non-starter. Curious and distinctive, but hard to recommend unreservedly.