L’Homme qu’on Aimat Trop (French Riviera for the London Film Festival) is for sure a little appealing movie for an audience far from la Cote Azure.
André Téchiné thriller is a re-creation of the Nièce Casino war in a mix of crime drama, love story and widow mother/daughter melodrama.
Renée La Roux (a wonderful silver-haired Catherine Deneuve) is the Nièce’s casino owner in 70s who is fending off business propositions from an unscrupulous rival, Mister Frantoni (Jean Corso) who want to transform Nièce in a French Las Vegas. By her side, from years, there is the young and appealing lawyer Maurice Agnelet ( the charming Guillaume Canet, Love me if You Dare, Last Night, Joyeux Noel) who seems more a chauffeur for Renée than a family’s personal business adviser. Everything changes with the return of Renée‘s daughter Agnès (Adèle Haenel, Water Lillies) and the obvious affair between her and the married – father of one man Maurice. All this ends up embroiling mother, daughter and lover in personal and professional betrayals.
As always, Téchiné‘s movie is made by puzzle pieces. Sometimes you need to find a lot of wrong pieces before you can find the right one and move on. In French Riviera, you have to absorb some scenes that seem irrelevant (and sometimes they really are useless) from the plot while the story hang on in the background.
Also the characters are hard to understand in their ensemble: their names are a suggest to an agneau (a little lamb) but in them there is nothing of a little lamb innocence. They seem empty inside and for the audience it’s difficult have an idea about them or to decide what to feel for them. We can’t understand what Téchiné thinks about them either because, at the end, French Riviera is more a movie about people’s feeling (maybe for the terrific landscapes or for the romantic score) than a crime thriller.
“I do everything I can to avoid”