Directed by Jean-Pierre Amaris
Jean-Pierre Amaris's tale of two shy neurotics is a romantic comedy that is sweet enough to delight, without making you gag. French import Romantics Anonymous begins with Angelique Delangé (Isabelle Carré) singing the French translation of the Sound of Music song "I Have Confidence in Me" on her way to a job interview. An exceptionally talented chocolatier, she's so self-effacing she faints at compliments; as a result, she has to make first-class confections anonymously.
After the death of her mentor, she musters up the guile to apply at a nearly bankrupt chocolate factory whose product is considered antiquated by those in the know. The owner, Jean-Rene Vandenhugde (Benoit Poelvoorde) has an intimidatingly stiff, abrupt exterior, but proves himself just as socially inept as Angelique. A genteel cat-and-mouse game ensues between these two anxiety-ridden would-be lovers, brought together by Angelique's reinvention of the brand.
Isabelle Carr is doe-eyed and fresh and Benoit Poelvoorde gives his comic moments an exceptional physicality—he communicates so much with his profuse sweating, jitters and pained expressions. Just as Angelique sings to herself in the film's first half , Jean-Rene serenades her with a love song in its later portion—these understated moments, typical of Amaris's attention to detail, make for a relatable story of people taking risks for the sake of love and validation in a world where people are increasingly disengaged from one another.
Opens November 25