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Friends with Benefits: Shall We Kiss?

Friends with Benefits: Shall We Kiss?

In the opening shot of Shall We Kiss?, a film that feels a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel navigated deftly by some unseen reader, the camera breezes by one handsome character, Gabriel (Michaël Cohen) and lights upon another, Emilie (Julie Gayet). Rather than just walk away from this chance encounter with a beautiful woman, as he nearly does, Gabriel offers her a ride, which she accepts, and a bud of possibility seems to appear before our eyes. When it is time to say goodbye, he takes another gamble and asks her to dinner. Again, she agrees, and with each “yes” in their story, a blossom opens.

At the end of the night, Gabriel and Emilie want to kiss, but each is already involved with someone else. Emilie is visiting Nantes on business, and the two will probably never meet again, yet she has reservations regarding “a kiss of no consequence.” She witnessed her good friend Judith’s life unravel as the result of such a kiss. Emilie guides us down the winding path of her friend’s adventure, and another layer of petals relaxes, allowing light and air to permeate the scene, as Emilie and Gabriel recede to the background.

Judith (Virginie Ledoyen, more alluring with each passing year) is quite content in her married life with Claudio (Stefano Accorsi, an appropriate physical match for her beauty). They are the perfect couple—she’s a medical researcher, he’s a pharmacist—and she feels the desire to have Claudio’s children one day soon. Judith, a modern, levelheaded gal, is able to maintain a very close platonic relationship with Nicolas (writer/director Emmanuel Mouret), a mathematician friend with whom she’s always shared everything. The two set aside a specific time each week to see each other and confess the most intimate secrets of their love lives. Click here to read the rest of Sarah Silver’s review of Shall We Kiss?

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