Whether getting away from their problems or sprinting towards the one they love, we regularly see young women running in indie romcoms. Following in the footsteps of Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza, and Renate Reinsve in The Worst Person in the World, Anaïs Demoustier chases her tail in this charming French twist on the genre.
Anaïs in Love is written and directed by actress turned filmmaker Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, and follows the 30-something eponymous student who, whilst broke, struggling with her thesis and on the cusp of her latest break-up, is seeking some purpose in her life. After receiving upsetting news about her mother’s health, she meets elderly intellectual Denis (Daniel Moreau-Babin) at a friend’s party, setting the wheels in motion for an unexpected love affair.
Unravelling against the sticky heat of a sun-soaked Parisian summer, the vibrant narrative really evokes the care-free spontaneity of its protagonist. Moving with evolving societal norms, our 30s are really the new 20s and Bourgeois-Tacquet’s innovative script takes a slightly more mature look at the coming-of-age tale, with just a smidge of existential dread thrown in. As the plot thickens, it begins to take the shape of an adulterous Woody Allen-esque tale, but this time told through the refreshing gaze of the go-getting younger woman as opposed to the lecherous married man.
Demoustier gives a daring, passionate performance, making Anaïs a stimulating screen presence. Never on time for any appointment, she is reckless and disorganised, yet she is always likeable; the lovely writing gently unveiling the quirks of her personality, as well as her infatuations and aspirations. Impulsive and exciting, Anaïs in Love is a striking directorial debut from Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet. Challenging our expectations as well as showcasing the talents of its wonderful leading actress, this is a joyous celebration of summer loving.