Yves Pelletier – Les Aimants AKA Love and Magnets (2004)

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Montreal Mirror wrote:

People tend to be cynical and derisive towards romantic comedies. Personally, I’m a softie and seeing people fall in love on screen always touches me. Then again, I’m aware that most entries in the rom-com genre are derivative and idiotic. But once in a blue moon, you find one that’s surprisingly original and intelligent. Les Aimants is such a film.

After five years abroad, Julie (Isabelle Blais) comes back to Montreal and crashes with her sister Jeanne (Sylvie Moreau), a woman who lies as she breathes. Jeanne is engaged to Noël (David Savard), a workaholic who’s never home, so they communicate through messages they leave on the refrigerator. When Jeanne leaves for a week of adultery with theremin virtuoso Manu (Emmanuel Bilodeau), she asks Julie to cover up for her by responding to Noël’s fridge notes. But Julie decides to get “positive revenge” on her seemingly heartless sister by making the messages she leaves more romantic…

Les Aimants was written and directed by Yves Pelletier, a former member of the legendary comedy group Rock & Belles Oreilles. That his directorial debut is hilarious is unsurprising, but I didn’t expect it to also be full of heart and brains. There are many big laughs, but they’re always integral to the overall story and themes. Pelletier doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he has interesting things to share about synchronicity, forces of attraction and good vibrations.

The whole cast is fantastic, making each character funny and endearing, even those who are initially ridiculous. Ultimately, though, this is Isabelle Blais’s picture. She managed to steal Les Invasions barbares with only a few minutes of screen time, so imagine how luminous and lovable and moving she is through a whole film. She even gets to sing two of the songs of the great prog-pop score by Dumas and Carl Bastien.

A recurring line in the film is, “C’pas intelligent mais ça marche,” (“It ain’t intelligent but it works”), and you feel that this is Pelletier apologizing for using romantic comedy gimmicks and clichés. No need for that: Les Aimants is intelligent and works.

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Language:French
Subtitles:French and English IDX.SUB

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