The Names of Love | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 84 minutes · 2011

Romantic comedy
There's an old joke: sex is funny, the French are funny, and comedy is funny—yet no French sex comedies are funny. Well, what if you manage to cover child molestation, French crimes against Algeria, and the Holocaust? Sorry—still not funny. Sara Forestier (Wild Grass) stars as a French-Algerian wild child who's so irrepressibly wacky that at one point she leaves her house, marches down the street, and boards the subway before realizing she's wearing nothing but boots. A strident liberal, she specializes in seducing right-wing men and turning them around in bed (politically, that is), though she meets her match in well-mannered avian scientist Jacques Gamblin (Inspector Bellamy), who has an even more impressive family history of injustice (his Jewish grandparents were deported to Auschwitz by the Vichy government). Writer-director Michel Leclerc keeps stressing how political all this is (the heroine labels almost everyone a "fascist"), but the movie never really decides what it's about, and its odd-couple romance is stale and unpersuasive. In French with subtitles.
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Director: Michel Leclerc
Cast: Jacques Gamblin, Sara Forestier, Zinedine Soualem, Carole Franck, Jacques Boudet, Michèle Moretti, Zakariya Gouram, Julia Vaidis-Bogard and Lionel Jospin

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