Film Review: Ange et Gabrielle

LOVE AT FIRST CHILD (ANGE ET GABRIELLE) (France 2015) ***

Directed by Anne Giafferi

     The English title tells it all.  LOVE AT FIRST CHILD is a French romantic comedy of a couple that falls in love as a result of a baby.  But the baby are not theirs but their kids’.  This film seems ideal for a Hollywood remake as follows the line of many French comedies.  The screenplay by Anne Giafferi and Anne Le Niy is based on a play by Murielle Magellan.     

The film begins with a semi-hysterical woman, Gabrielle (Isabelle Carre) barging into the office of Womanizer Ange (singer and actor Patrice Brunel).  He is accused of having an uncaring son, Simon (Thomas Soliveres) who has impregnated her daughter, Claire (Alice de Lencquesaing) now studying in school.  All this is a lame excuse for Ange and Gabrielle to argue and eventually fall in love.     

But writer/director Giaferri’s film is not without its charm.  It is difficult to dislike a film that has charm and nice human touches spread throughout the movie, despite the fact that this is a typical Harlequin romance complete with obstacles to the romance and an obvious happy ending.  This fact might be the reason the film is going straight to vod in North America after doing only so-so at the box-office.     Director Giafferi takes the play out into the open so that the audience is never aware of the film’s source.  There is a neat scene where Angie and Gabrielle kiss in a playground surrounded by children and another showing two loving pigeons on a rooftop.  The film also updates the story to include political correctness of a gay marriage of one of Ange’s colleagues.      

Like the French comedy THREE MEN AND A BABY, LOVE AT FIRST CHILD contains lots of shots of a cute baby.  The baby featured in this film is really cute, impossible to dislike and director Giafferi has captured and exploited (in a good way) all the best baby moments.     Heart throb singer star Patrick Bruno is now 58 and his age shows.  But his charm is not lost and his womanizing character and romanced comes across convincingly enough.  Cesar winner Isabelle Carrie is also charming enough, looking so much like Diane Keaton with her glasses,  But the two young a actors, Thomas Soliveres and Alice de Lencquesaing give he film a fresh look.  It is a pity that they only deliver supporting performances.  A full movie could have been made on young love, of their characters, perhaps a young adult romantic drama similar to the ones Mia Hansen-love makes.     

LOVE AT FIRST CHILD makes its debut on vod (video on demand) Nationwide on Tuesday, July 11 on all major platforms including  iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft, Vudu, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Vimeo, and various other cable operators.  The film makes a good romantic evening home with a loved one for an alternate night at the movies.

Trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SrhGDhu9IzM

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