When Louis Echard starts interviewing for a new secretary, the quirky and inexperienced Rose Pamphyle isn’t what he has in mind. But Rose’s skills with the typewriter gain her the job, and gradually the two fall into a mutually beneficial working relationship.
All goes smoothly until Louis hears about the national typewriting competition and becomes fixated on winning – with Rose’s dexterity, of course. The two embark on a course of intensive training, and as Rose gradually rises through the ranks of the competition, their relationship becomes more complicated than Louis ever imagined it could be.
It’s a delightful film. Wonderfully French, fantastically retro, with some moments of pure genius and that feel-good factor that modern films so often seem to lack.
The characters are a bit stereotypical, sure: the father who’s grown cold and distant since Rose’s mother died, the naïve but pretty young girl who’s trying to make her way in the world, the macho but secretly quite sweet hero who can’t bring himself to express his feelings. And it’s ever so slightly overacted: Louis Echard enters every scene with a slight sneer, which seems perfect for his character initially but begins to grate after a while. And Rose sometimes seems a little too sweet: there were times when I wanted to pick her up by the shoulderpads and shake some backbone into her.
All in all, though, it’s a truly enjoyable couple of hours that will draw you further into the world of typing than you ever knew you could go. Not since Eminem’s rap battle in 8 Mile have I been so captivated by a competition scene as I was by the finals of the typewriting competition in New York.
A lovely summer movie, this will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, even if you’ll be constantly berating your slow typing for days afterwards.
Populaire comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on September 23rd.
7/10 – A delightful story of love and typing
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