Romantics Anonymous

A recent surprise hit in France, the delectable comedy “Romantics Anonymous” tells the story of Angélique Delange (Isabelle Carré, “Private Fears in Public Places”), an unemployed but gifted chocolate-maker with a lifelong case of uncontrollable shyness that prevents her from properly sharing her confectionary talents. Jean-René Van Den Hugde (Benoît Poelvoorde, “Coco Before Chanel”) suffers from a similar case of terminal abashment and runs a fledgling chocolate company in desperate need of a new direction. When Jean-René hires Angélique as the new sales associate, the two nervous Nellies must face their deepest fears. With the chocolate business hanging in the balance, they are forced to fess up to their hidden sweet affections for each other.

Co-screenwriters Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband have prepared a deliciously witty script filled with rich characters that are packed with honesty and humor. Director Améris teases out the fairy-tale quality of this timid romance while grounding the film’s charm and spirit firmly in its lovable and authentic protagonists and their quest for emotional freedom. Carré and Poelvoorde give nuanced and hilarious performances and radiate on-screen chemistry.

The Man Who Laughs

Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, has a permanent smile carved on his face by the King, in revenge for Gwynplaine’s father’s treachery. Gwynplaine is adopted by a travelling showman and becomes a popular idol. He falls in love with the blind Dea. The king dies, and his evil jester tries to destroy or corrupt Gwynplaine.

Marie’s Story

At the turn of the 19th century, the daughter of a humble artisan and his wife is born deaf and blind and unable to communicate with the world around her. Desperate to find a cnonection to young Marie adn avoid sending her to an asylum, the Heurtins send her to the Larnay Institute in central France, where an order of Catholic nuns manage a school for deaf girls. There, the idealistic Sister Marguerite sees in Marie a unique potential, and despite her Mother Superior’s skepticism, vows to bring the wild young thing out of the darkness into which she was born.