This is one of those instances where being adventurous pays off. I’d been passing by Populaire for weeks on Netflix, mostly because I didn’t know anything about it. One night I took a risk and decided to watch it. What I found was a charming, entertaining, somewhat zany French romantic comedy set in the 50’s, one that I enjoyed quite a lot.
Rose Pamphyle lives in a small town in Normandy, and she wants to do more with her life than work at her father’s shop. So she goes to an interview to be Mr. Echard’s new secretary. He surprisingly hires her, but after a week of work, discovers she’s a terrible secretary. What she can do, however, is type, with only two fingers, faster than anyone he’s every seen. So he decides to train her for speed typing competitions.
Quite a bit of the movie is spent watching the two train, but through the training and the competitions, you get to know the two characters pretty well. There’s really more character development than I was expecting, and they both change a lot by the end of the movie.
And of course, the romance is sweet too.
All of the acting is quite good, and I loved seeing the 50’s recreated on screen; the costumes were gorgeous (I adore those 50’s dresses), and all of the fierce typing competition scenes were somewhat hysterical. It’s hard to believe that was a thing back then. It also made me very thankful for computers.
The two leads have great chemistry, and both play likable characters; well, Louis becomes likable. He’s kind of a jerk for a while, but that’s part of his character growth. I think my favorite character would be Marie (played by Berenice Bejo from The Artist!); she is luminous and wonderful as the wife of Louis’ best friend.
If you’re looking for something a little different and you like quirky romantic comedies, take a chance on Populaire. I think you’ll enjoy it!
4 out of 5 stars
Content: Rated R for a scene of sexuality (there’s some boobs, but it’s a short scene, you could easily skip over it).