Beautiful Lies (aka De Vrais Mensonges) review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
Amelie is now Emilie in the French farce film ‘Beautiful Lies’ (De Vrais Mensonges). Audrey Tautou and her ‘Priceless’ director Pierre Salvadori reunite for another rom-com romp that highlights love, a letter, a mother-daughter relationship, and the clueless man in the middle of it all.
Emilie (Tautou) is a feisty, no-nonsense young woman who owns a salon in Sète, France, the picturesque French Mediterranean port along the coast. Behind the beauty of the place is Emilie’s mother (Natalie Baye), a lovelorn older woman who only sees the ugly in her life. When Emilie learns a secret her Arab and cute handyman Jean (Sami Bouajila) is hiding, she immediately fires him. However, Jean hasn’t told her something – he’s in love with Emilie.
He admits it by writing a heartfelt and well-written love letter and sends it anonymously. Emilie reads the letter from her secret admirer and just throws it to the bin. Later, she fishes it out and gives it to her mother and Emilie becomes her mother’s unofficial cupid. Her mother instantly falls in love and roams the entire Sète to find her mystery man. From there, little lies turn huge, misunderstandings and missed connections happen, and true love is in for a tailspin.
‘Beautiful Lies’ is a charming film, thanks to Audrey Tautou; for it to claim to be farce is wrong. You can’t fault them for not trying yet still it falls short of said title. It is unclear what the motivations of Emilie and her mother have; the only solid character arc is Jean’s – he’s smitten and he wants to make a connection.
Unfortunately, the object of his affection has other plans and his intentions fall at the wayside. Poor Jean; if only he knew what the hell is going on. Props to its production for also choosing Sète as its setting instead of the usual cosmopolitan Paris; Sète in itself is a character in the film and makes for a refreshing look at another side of France. In the end, ‘Beautiful Lies’ is a decent romantic comedy feature that compels you to visit wonderful Sète yourself.