Roman de gare 

Directed by Claude Lelouch

Cleverness is a double-edged sword: it can reinvigorate clichéd plots and subvert audience expectations, or it can turn into nothing more than a game, a ploy to fool first-time viewers. Claude Lelouch walks this fine line with his latest film (his forty-first feature, for those keeping count), Roman de gare. Taking its title from the French term for “popular literature,” Lelouch reworks stale bestseller conventions into a labyrinthine plot of red herrings. On the way to her engagement party, a woman is dumped by her fiancé at a gas station. A mysterious man (who may or may not be either a serial killer or a bestseller’s ghostwriter) offers her a ride back to her parents’ house, and she asks him to pretend to be her fiancé for one night. Roman is undeniably cunning with a deft mix of mystery and romance (a Lelouch specialty), though the ending is ultimately more clever than satisfying.

Opens April 25

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