The film’s narrative structure is as aimless as its lead, and it hangs onto her every whim; few obstacles are placed in Anaïs’ way, leaving the stakes low and little room for doubt. For those who enjoy watching a protagonist effortlessly get what she wants, Anaïs in Love is a breezy ride.
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Anaïs isn’t so different in the wonderfully surprising last shot than she is in the first, but at last we can see that she’s having the time of her life.
Some might wonder what Anaïs in Love really has to say for itself; the film, perhaps, objects to the idea of young women like its cheerfully confused heroine having to explain themselves at all. Either way, this zephyr-blown dandelion of a movie isn’t going to break a sweat to get its message across.
While this is hardly Exhibit A in any catalogue of feminist films, it is very much told through the young woman exploring romantic possibility, rather than spotlighting her.
Bourgeois-Tacquet’s script is loaded with witty bon mots and carefully-constructed insights.
What took a while to grasp is that it isn’t necessary to like Anaïs. What’s crucial is that you stick with her, that you listen to what she says and doesn’t say, that you look beneath the skittishness to get a handle on what drives this woman — that you see her for who she is.
Bourgeois-Tacquet, making her feature debut, struggles to find ways to tell the audience what’s going on her heroine’s head.
There’s something unexpected about the way Anaïs in Love pulls you in, with its airiness making it exactly the right film to watch at this moment as the sundresses are coming out and few things feel better than reading a good book in the grass. Some movies just feel like spring; Anaïs in Love is certainly one.
Like any craftily layered confection, what at first presents itself as colorfully whipped reveals itself to be a more tangy, lasting bite.
It’s not a bon bon or a comic delight. But Bourgeois-Tacquet and her muse Demoustier give coquettes, gamines and manic pixie dream girls (a Hollywood staple) the kind of butt-kicking all those people who misguidedly hated poor Amelie for decades ago longed for.