Shall We Kiss (2007)

Virginie Ledoyen, Emmanuel Mouret, Julie Guyet, Michael Cohen, Stefano Accorsi

Dir. Emmanuel Mouret

shall we kiss
Cooking up the plan. The Schubert book is just out of sight!

I have a confession to make. I will watch anything that features Virginie Ledoyen. I’d even watch a television advert if she was in it. French cinema has a long history of famous actresses, Brigitte Bardot, Fanny Ardant, Audrey Tautou, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Beart, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet . . . feel free to add others. And add Virginie Ledoyen to that list while you’re at it.

She dipped her toe in international waters by appearing alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach, but unlike the more recent emerging Gallic talent of Melanie Laurent and Marion Cotillard, Ledoyen has been content to stay within France and French cinema. She doesn’t need the money, or so she says.

In Shall We Kiss she stars alongside the director Emmanuel Mouret as the lovers in an anecdotal tale told by Julie Guyet to an admirer played by Michael Cohen. Cohen only wants to kiss Guyet goodnight, but she knows what happens when a simple kiss leads to complex circumstances. Ledoyen and Mouret are best friends, Mouret is lonely and, you know, one thing leads to another and before you know it there are lies, deceit and an outrageous plan involving Schubert and a mix up at the tennis club.

Shall We Kiss is one of those languid French films that steps too close to the line demarcating self-indulgence from observation. It’s difficult to warm to the ‘lovers’ in the anecdote, the deception takes too long to play its hand, but the pay off at the end is worthwhile and surprising. Ledoyen has done better: En Plein Coeur is a masterpiece, Saint Ange a disturbing piece of ghostly horror. Shall We Kiss is what you might call ‘for fans only.’

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