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Apres Vous (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Apres Vous

Apres Vous


Starring Daniel Auteuil, José Garcia, Sandrine Kiberlain, Marilyne Canto, Michèle Moretti, Garance Clavel, Fabio Zenoni, Ange Ruzé, Andrée Tainsy, Jean-Luc Abel, Caroline Brunner, Jocelyne Desverchère, Didier Menin, Jean Charles-Dumay, Jean-Claude Lecas, Elise Otzenberger and Blandine Pelissier.

Screenplay by Bênoit Graffin, David Léotard and Pierre Salvadori.

Directed by Pierre Salvadori.

Distributed by Paramount Classics. 110 minutes.  Rated R.

A meal in a restaurant in France is something of a surprise to Americans.  There it is a celebration, it is an art, it is a happening.  You will never get rushed out of your table by an impatient waiter like in the United States; in fact good luck getting your check if you are in a hurry.

This more laid back, civilized lifestyle also extends to the romantic comedies.  You don’t always have to be bum rushed by the hard sell of The Wedding Crashers  or Must Love Dogs.  Not that those weren’t enjoyable in their own ways.  Sometimes something lighter is just a better fit for the palette.

By lighter I don’t mean sunnier — there are some rather dark, tangy passages in this delightful confection.  By lighter I also do not mean meaningless — this is a love comedy that stands tall with any that came out of Hollywood.  However, like that French meal, Après Vous is content to have you just sit back as it dollops out sumptuous treats, and then gives you time to digest all that you have eaten.

As you may have guessed, Après Vous is based around one of these Parisian Bistros.  Antoine (Daniel Auteuil of Jean de Florette, The Widow of St. Pierre and The Closet) plays a good natured waiter in an upscale Paris cafe.  Antoine is hard-working and giving to a fault — he always puts his career and other people before his personal life, particularly ahead of his long-suffering girlfriend Christine (Marilyne Canto).

One day, when as usual rushing to meet Christine despite the fact that he is late because he got caught up at work, Antoine stumbles upon a man (José Garcia) trying to kill himself.  Antoine saves his life, but is surprised to find that Louis is not only not grateful, he is depressed and angry about it.  With his good-Samaritan streak, Antoine sets about trying to set Louis’ life straight — at great cost to him — both monetarily and in terms of respect.  Antoine gets Louis a job at his restaurant although he has no experience or skills in the area.  (It’s funny that a film that luxuriates in the warmth of the restaurant business can also skewer it — suggesting that any crazy person can pretend enough to be a good wine steward and no one will be any the wiser.)

Antoine also starts covertly investigating the woman who broke Louis’ heart.  Blanche is a sweet-but-confused florist, and when Antoine tries to set the wheels in motion for getting the two back together, he is disturbed to find he has feelings for Blanche himself.

All of this is as light as a soufflé, but like a soufflé it requires and exacting and perfect set of ingredients to keep it from falling on itself.  Happily, this soufflé is a great success.   (8/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2005  All rights reserved. Posted: August 21, 2005.

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