Belle Époque

With subtitles

A clever French romance imagines a situation in which a historical reenactment service plays Cupid to a jaded Daniel Auteuil. It is superbe. It runs the gamut of emotion, relationships. Finds humour in life, love, the absurd. It reminds us how and why we fall in love in the first place. By watching others fall in love for the first time, we’re able to relive our own faded memories of how that felt and, ideally, to put our own past – and even present – into perspective.

A sweet, inventive Richard Curtis-style romantic-comedy crowdpleaser that deftly balances hearty laughs and heartwarming emotion.
Screen International

Romantic, nostalgic and beautifully acted, it’s one of the best films of the year.
The List

A senior technophobe and his wife are married by law but very little binds them together in romance. The wife is openly unfaithful and obvious with her mockery of her husband. After they split, the husband takes the opportunity to go back in time by using the latest technology for the experience, but what happens when he chooses the day he met his wife?

This film has a very clever pretence: right now virtual reality technology is clunky and unconvincing but someday, perhaps, VR will become more. Until then, French writer-director Nicolas Bedos has conceived something better: a service whereby wealthy clients can pay a high-end reenactment troupe to stage a carefully orchestrated and totally convincing visit to a previous time of their choosing. Want to spend an evening as Marie Antoinette? Or pretend that you’re drinking buddies with Ernest Hemingway? In this film Bedos invents a way for that to happen — like Westworld, with actors in place of robots — with the ulterior motive that such a service might offer real-world audiences a uniquely satisfying emotional experience if we were to follow the right kind of character.

France 2019, 110 min, rated M (sex scenes, violence, drug use & offensive language)
Directed by Nicolas Bedos
Starring Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier, Fanny Ardant, Pierre Arditi & Denis Podalydès

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