Shall We Kiss? (Un baiser S'il Vous Plait?) (Unrated) ***½
Let's kiss first -- ask questions later.
By Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Impossibly charming and impossibly French (though readymade for a Hollywood remake), Shall We Kiss? is a comic romance full of rueful musings about fidelity and true love.
Written, directed by and starring Emmanuel Mouret -- whose onscreen persona is shaggy and shambling -- the film follows a man and woman who are closest of friends, but whose friendship turns to sexual desire and then knock-down-the-house obsession.
So what's the problem? Well, Judith (the elegant Virginie Ledoyen), is already married to the nice, funny, caring Claudio (Stefano Accorsi). She doesn't have the heart to hurt her spouse, even as her relationship with Nicolas (Mouret) has changed from intimately platonic to just plain intimate.
Framed as a story recounted by a Paris fabric designer (Julie Gayet) to an attractive stranger (Michael Cohen) encountered on a business trip to Nantes, Shall We Kiss? pulses with desire. Cautionary words are spoken about the dangers of following your heart -- and the danger if you don't.
Ledoyen and Mouret's characters' initially tentative venture into lovemaking is full of humorously awkward commentary. Gayet and Cohen, as the storyteller and her happily enthralled audience of one, are likewise appealing -- to us and to each other.
Shall We Kiss? may not be deep, but it's deeply delightful.
Cast: Virginie Ledoyen, Jacques Lafoly, Mélanie Maudran; Michael Cohen, Julie Gayet; Stefano Accorsi, Marie Madinier; Frédérique Bel, Emmanuel Mouret, Lucciana de Vogue
Director/screenwriter: Emmanuel Mouret.
Producer: Frédéric Niedermeyer.
Running time: 96 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Playing in Miami-Dade: Cosford; in Broward: Cinema Paradiso.