Monday, November 26, 2012

Movie Review: Romantics Anonymous

Romantics Anonymous
Directed by Jean-Pierre Améris
Running Time: 80 minutes
Originally Released: November 25, 2011 (USA)

* * * (out of four)

Responding to a help wanted ad, master chocolatier Angélique (Isabelle Carré) lands a job as a sales representative for the floundering confectionary company, The Chocolate Mill. Angélique thought she was interviewing to make chocolates, but she accepts the job anyway. She doesn’t mention the fact that she is cripplingly shy and regularly attends meetings at Emotions Anonymous, a support group for those who are socially over-anxious and easily flustered. As it turns out, Angélique’s new employer, Jean-Rene (Benoît Poelvoorde), is even more neurotic. The intimacy of touching another individual—even for the sake of a casual handshake or a congratulatory pat on the back—paralyzes poor Jean-Rene. Who knows how he would react if he were to learn that he has hired the region’s foremost chocolatier? Of course, he couldn’t know that. Fearing the incapacitation that comes with being the center of attention, Angélique has spent the last several years pretending to be the delivery girl for a mysterious hermit whom she claims is the creator of her decadent chocolates.

Romantics Anonymous is an innocuous treat, a mere stone’s throw away from being wonderful. Rare is the film that revels in the innocent beauty of romance. Romantics Anonymous does just that, even if it fails to do so perfectly. Ironically, it may well be that what hinders the film’s greatness is also its saving grace: simplicity. Suffering more from a lack of daring than from a series of missteps, Romantics Anonymous pleases the palate without leaving one clamoring for more. In that regard, it is not unlike the product of the company that Angélique is hired to save. If there is a genuine complaint to be levied against the film, it is that the precise magnitude of Angélique’s neurosis ever-eludes the audience. Much of the time, Angélique seems like a fully-functioning, confident individual. The quirk of having two “emotionals” falling in love is dampened by the scales of neuroticism tipping decidedly in favor of Jean-Rene.

Romantics Anonymous is currently available for Instant Viewing on Netflix and on Amazon Prime.


  1. Yay! I'll watch this and let you know if I agree :)

  2. Yay I watched it! Although it was hard to fold laundry and read subtitles at the same time :)

    I disagree a bit with the inconsistency of Angelique's character. I thought it showed how she would build herself up only to lose it all when the big moments arrived. Or she acted confidently but then we find out it's because she took note cards on her date. She also seemed to be the most confident when she got lost in her passion of making or talking about chocolate, showing that when you really love something, your fears can be overcome. ? Perhaps I was just relating to her differently, feeling like I know how she feels. Which also is what made the film not more enjoyable to me- not that I didn't enjoy it! Watching them struggle was too relatable and not funny for me! But it was a good movie and I enjoyed your recommendation. It was fun to watch thinking of talking to you about it.

  3. Oh and I do agree that Jean-Rene was much more "emotional" and that did seem imbalanced a bit. Perhaps he needed someone like Angelique to understand him but not quite match the extremity in order for it to work?
    And what about the scene with her mother? It seemed a bit out of place to me. Maybe it explained a bit why she is the way she is? Or contrasted the innocent and real love she was finding? It didn't really work for me.