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Film review: ‘The Names of Love’

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Sara Forestier and Jacques Gamblin are head over heels in the pleasant French import ‘The Names of Love.’

The Details

The Names of Love
Three and a half stars
Jacques Gamblin, Sara Forestier, Zinedine Soualem
Directed by Michel Leclerc
Rated R
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: The Names of Love
Rotten Tomatoes: The Names of Love

Leave it to the French to make a romantic comedy that’s as much about political, racial and national identity as it is about meet-cutes and silly misunderstandings. Those elements are present in Michel Leclerc’s The Names of Love, too, but he handles them with the same exuberance and passion he brings to the questions of heritage and civic duty, and somehow the movie makes an inspired connection between romantic and cultural angst. Sara Forestier is wonderful as a free-spirited activist whose strategy is to sleep with her political opponents in order to convert them, and Jacques Gamblin complements her nicely as the straitlaced government scientist she accidentally falls in love with. Sometimes the balance of seriousness and frivolity seems unwieldy, but Leclerc is so adept at both that it’s easy to gloss over the awkward transitions. Any movie that can wring hilarity out of a scene in which the heroine keeps making inadvertent Holocaust references has to be doing something right.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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