Love at First Fight is overflowing with relentlessly acerbic humor that shapes the way the film's two young protagonists contend with not just each other, but also with the uncertainties of the world they're emerging into as adults.
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Transparently wearing metaphors on its singed sleeves, the film shuttles around courses of meaning and significance without committing to any.
Even when it’s slowing down, Fight shows beguiling confidence in both its filmmaking and its characters—enough to make its smallest romantic moments feel significant.
A sort of grown-up version of “Moonrise Kingdom,” France’s Love at First Fight has some youthful free-range charm but not nearly as much as its predecessor.
The title does a real disservice to the film, a romantic comedy made with both visual and narrative intelligence, centered by great performances from Kévin Azaïs and Adèle Haenel.
Rejuvenating the romantic comedy through its unusual premise — in which training for an elite army unit releases a flood of pheromones — Cailley's film is also buoyed by its enormously appealing leads, Kévin Azaïs and Adèle Haenel.
Though the slow-boil chemistry is there, the script feels flat, content to rely on the surface friction between its lead actors, rather than creating scenes in which we can really get to know the pair’s respective personalities before testing their limits in the field.
Madeleine (Adele Haenel) does not know that she is a character in a rom-com. She thinks she's in a war movie. Or, better yet, a dystopian post-apocalyptic movie. Anything but a rom-com. She does not smile until an hour and 20 minutes into Love at First Fight.
The actors make the movie’s memorable characters all the more indelible, even when Love at First Fight loses its sense of originality.
For its first two-thirds, the film, written and directed by Thomas Cailley, seems to be groundbreaking. Then it slides into comforting familiarity.