Shall We Kiss?
Ah, love. What a grand web we weave in its name.
When feelings are involved we will do all sorts of screwy things to prevent them from getting hurt.
Take "Shall We Kiss?", the French cousin to "When Harry Met Sally." Gabriel and Emilie have a chance meeting, flirt a little, and soon they're talking over dinner.
When things escalate, Emilie hesitates. Gabriel asks why, and most of the rest of the film is Emilie's recounting a story that happened to someone she knows, where love, logic, and longing intermingle, forming it's one big soup of emotion.
Emilie's story centers on Judith (Virgine Leyoden) and Nicolas (Emmanuel Moret), best of friends who had heretofore avoided romantic entanglements with each other. Each is involved in other relationships, but bare their deepest feelings to each other.
When Nicolas is dumped, he confides in Judith that he misses companionship and needs "physical affection." He starts to suggest something, but hesitates. She insists, and next thing you know they're awkwardly undressing and jumping into bed together.
The film has a deft touch in handling the eternal argument that pits romance vs. reason, and once again shows how humans have quite a time separating intellect from lust.
High points include a scene where Judith and Nicolas meet after their first sexual encounter, each aghast that they can't stop thinking about it.
Their solution? Do it again, but badly, so they forget it. The outcome again is good, which to them is a disaster.
Soon they realize they're in love, and plot to separate from their respective lovers without hurting them. Their solution is equal parts noble and selfish.
It's charming, breezy and funny, but never loses sight of the stakes. The characters are all too aware that there are lives and feelings at stake, and they're none too eager to toss their lives away.
Moret also directs, and skillfully segues from the flashback story to the main narrative, and even does a story-within-a-story, which can be difficult to pull off, but in context you may not even notice if you're not looking for it.
Rating: 4.5 Yaps out of 5
See Chris's take on "Shall We Kiss?": http://captaincritic.blogspot.com/2009/06/review-shall-we-kiss_04.html