Directed by David and Stéphane Foenkinos
Delicacy, a romantic and heavily depressing adaptation of co-director David Foenkinos’s novel, is one for the ladies’ book clubs. Audrey Tautou plays Nathalie, a recently widowed Parisian executive, who throws herself into her work and forgets about love for a while. Finally, her grief begins to wear off, and Nathalie struggles to regain normalcy in her life, and start dating again. It’s not her boss who wins her affection, however, but an office subordinate named Markus, a hulking Swede always dressed in beige and average in every way, played by french comedian François Damiens.
Insecure, with his large body, receding hairline, and book bag, Damiens plays a convincing unlikely companion for the beautiful and successful Nathalie, who roams the office corridors with sunken cheeks, pursed lips, and dark eyes empty as black holes, as she adjusts to being single again. Yet, Nathalie finds herself laughing at Markus’s jokes. While Markus battles his fear of getting hurt, she matter-of-factly chases the spark she hadn’t felt in a long while, and together they overcome some of the obstacles towards becoming a couple: her friends don’t get it, and everyone in the office is talking about it.
There’s plenty of wet eyes in the film, and if that’s the trigger, there’ll be plenty more in the audience. But it all gets tiring; perhaps that’s really why Nathalie finally falls for Markus. Nathalie in her pursuit of normalcy is already too normal: Tautou plays her as a super-rational woman, who knows she needs to move on but, as she tells her teary-eyed meilleur amie, still feels the weight of her love for her deceased husband. The audience too. It permeates through the entire film, perhaps too much; the film’s ending is the only lift or real relief from Nathalie’s depression and Damien’s hang-ups.
Opens March 14