Two French winners on video
Nathalie Baye (An Affair of Love) is the best of the lot, but she’s in danger of growing bitter in the aftermath of her own romantic mishaps. A pre-Amélie Audrey Tautou is also on hand doing good works that are not entirely un-Amélie (that is, coy and cute) in form.
Jacques Bonnaffe (Va Savoir) is most prominent among the flawed-but-still-trying males on the scene, and another generation of French stars is represented, in hauntingly comic ways, by the likes of Micheline Presle, Emmanuelle Riva and Robert Hossein.
Baye is the foremost embodiment of the film’s rambunctious comic wisdom, but Tonie Marshall’s film thrives on a savvy mix of anarchy in the vive le difference mode and orderly elegance in the manner of the Venus Beauty Institute itself.