You immediately like the quiet Christophe (Zem), a bodyguard in Anne Fontaine’s lighthearted legal thriller, because he seems immune to the bullshit that inevitably comes with a Monaco movie. He turns up unexpectedly—a silent watcher—as our trial-lawyer hero, Bertrand (Luchini), is chatting up a beautiful stranger. Interrupted, Bertrand learns that due to the nature of his high-profile murder case, his client wants him guarded around the clock. Protector and protectee soon bond through the awkwardness; you brace yourself for worst-case scenarios.
How wondrous, then, that the threat comes in a cloud of blond hair. This is only Louise Bourgoin’s first film, but as Audrey, a weather reporter and force of nature herself, she’s landed a role of unusual charm and complexity. Her character is not merely a flirt, but a larky spirit of her age, chained to a video camera, who dreams of hosting a show about celebrity pets. Audrey has a sexual past with the disapproving Christophe, and attaches herself to the flattered lawyer—and because this is a gambling town, you expect a scam. Sweetly, though, the con is love, born in her red bedroom under the Princess Diana photo. The Girl from Monaco is not To Die For, but for long stretches, it’s just as unpredictable.—Joshua Rothkopf