“I could go on holiday in your hair.”
Nathalie (Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code) and Francois (Pio Marmai, Alyah) are so in love, when he dies unexpectedly she falls into despair and grief. As Nathalie gradually goes on with life, she throws herself into work. It’s there she meets new colleague Markus (Francois Damiens, JCVD) and slowly begins to see new possibilities.
Delicacy charmed me from the get go. I don’t want to say too much, because it’s one of those films where the less you know the better your viewing experience. It’s difficult to make a romantic comedy without falling into cliche, but you have to hit certain beats or risk losing your audience. When trying for a romantic dramedy like Delicacy, the challenge is even tougher because you’re struggling to establish an even more delicate balance.
Delicacy manages to hit every single checkmark of the genre without fail; and yet every time it does, the result is unexpected. There are two things which make the movie work. The first is the casting of Tautou and Marmai as the idyllic soulmates. Their chemistry lights up the screen and is crucial for the film. With very little screen time together, we have to believe they are mad for each other and that Tautou’s Nathalie would indeed fall into an almost inescapable grief. The second aspect comes from the character of Markus. Simply put, he is a weirdo, but almost has to be in order to break through to Nathalie. Once he’s introduced, we start to focus on the question of what she could see in him, which provides the impetus for the rest of the film.
The choices director David Foenkinos makes are always interesting. For example, when Nathalie receives a call from the hospital, the camera pushes in for a tight shot and it holds there until she arrives, emphasizing how Nathalie’s world has shrunk and become claustrophobic. The acting is top notch as well, with Tautou as her usual engaging self and Damiens committing absolutely to the role. His is an unusual character for the genre, especially as the potential love interest, and without a doubt it wouldn’t work with someone less committed. The story itself is difficult to translate to the screen, as the audience has to believe this woman would fall in love with two men, made even more challenging with the introduction of a character’s death. But the screenplay is deftly crafted and well-paced, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Presented in 1.78:1/1080p, Delicacy (Blu-ray) showcases this gorgeously shot film. There are a few scenes which are whimsical bordering on fantastical, the color palette and camera work combining to produce some beautiful visuals. For instance, when Francois proposes to Nathalie, suddenly snow appears and swirls around them; a practical effect which enhances the moment. The high definition transfer is as crisp as you could ever want and the color timing is perfection, especially in the balancing of the tones. The white levels in particular never blow out and they so easily could have. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track likewise more than meets expectations, its soundtrack using very specific songs to highlight key emotional cues.
Unfortunately, the extras are lacking, featuring only a short interview with Audrey Tautou and a behind-the-scene featurette.
Delicacy is a small gem of a film that is enchanting in every possible way. I can’t recommend a purchase because the extras don’t support it, but I definitely recommend a rental (online or off).