A decade on from her feature debut, writer and director Nicole Palo revisits the topic of suicide in her faux romantic comedy flick Emma Peeters. The eponymous Emma (Monia Chokri) is a struggling actress living in Paris, making ends meet in retail while she pursues her lifelong dream to be a star. After being knocked back at yet another audition, she decides that enough is enough and that she will kill herself on her upcoming 35th birthday. Whilst making the necessary arrangements, she meets oddball funeral director Alex (Fabrice Adde) who offers to assist her in her suicidal mission.
This might all sound morbidly depressing, but it is in fact rather upbeat and charming. Once Emma begins to plot her own curtain call, she ironically has a reason to get up in the morning, and the script is smart in balancing the tone between comic quirkiness and existential dread. Tapping into today’s societal expectations and the anxieties that can come with them, Palo’s narrative has a Fleabag-esque quality to it which is very much assured in its own absurdity. You might need something bitter to counteract the sickly-sweet crème brûlée finale, but for the most part Palo’s Parisian tale of woe is a recipe for delight that offers an unorthodox spin on the ‘girl meets boy’ story.