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'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not'

Film Clips: A roundup of new releases

Friday, March 28, 2003

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Movie Editor

The movie producer Robert Evans began his autobiography, "The Kid Stays in the Picture," by observing there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth -- and no one is lying.

'He Loves Me,
He Loves Me Not'

RATING: Not rated; contains violence and harsh language.

STARRING: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan.

DIRECTOR: Laetitia Colombani.

WEB SITE: www.helovesme


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The French film "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" proves his point with a vengeance. A simple change of perspective leads to a revelation in terms of interpreting the events we are seeing.

Audrey Tautou, the charmer from "Amelie," plays Angelique, an art student whom we first see emerging from a screenful of roses with that glowing smile of hers lighting up the room. Director Laetitia Colombani keeps doting on this beaming gamine as she fingers necklaces of red plastic hearts and otherwise shows every manifestation of a young woman in love.

Sure enough, she tells her friend Heloise (Sophie Guilleman) about sending a rose to her beau, Loic (Samuel Le Bihan), a cardiologist. He's married but she's convinced he'll leave his wife. But there is trouble in her paradise. Loic's wife (Isabelle Carre) is pregnant -- Angelique thinks it's a ploy to keep him from leaving. And Loic stands her up on a couple of important occasions.

Angelique's smile has disappeared. She mopes around, pining for him and sometimes getting angry to a fault.

But there are three sides to every story. Everything we see is true, but Colombani and co-screenwriter Caroline Thivel soon demonstrate just how relative truth can be. It's a remarkable stunt, although some viewers will see it as the ultimate manipulation from filmmakers weaving a rug under our feet just so they can pull it out from under us.

But it works nevertheless, in part because it allows Tautou to show us her dark side and because Le Bihan is able to let us read whatever we like -- or whatever the directors want us to read -- in his facial expressions and emotional reactions.

Colombani even leaves a nice little jolt for the ending of this French twist.

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