The Names of Love

"Le nom des gens" is a delightful award-winning French comedy (with English captions) that I obtained from the city library. It features a young extrovert whose life's mission is to convert conservative men to her left- wing point of view. She does this by seducing them, feeling that they are most open to new beliefs during intimacy.

This film is laugh-out-loud funny in many ways, and more sweetly subtle in others. One example is during a voiceover when our hero describes his parents. We notice right away that the man who represents his father is far, far older than his mother. Then he explains that he could never picture his father as a young man, so that character always stays the same age.

We see:
  • Jacques Gamblin ("The First Man") as Arthur Martin, which evidently is the same name as a kitchen appliance. Any time his name comes up, he has to explain that he is not that Arthur Martin. He may be conservative, but he is bewitched by this hedonistic beauty who sails into his life and leaves him tattered and tossing in her wake. Gamblin was nominated for a Best Actor award at the 2010 Césars, the French Academy Awards.
  • Sara Forestier ("Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life") is Baya Benmah- moud, dedicated to righting the wrongs in this world by seducing "fascists." Problem is, by her definition, pretty much every man she meets is a fascist. Forestier won Best Actress at the 2010 Césars.
We meet HIS parents, conservative (and closeted) Jews; HER parents (Mom is a hippie and Dad is an Algerian handyman); plus younger versions of our two lovers. Her younger self had piano lessons but the teacher neglected to teach her any music, he was far more interested in HER; he left town when her parents found out. His younger self is torn between admitting his Jewish heritage to attract girls, or keeping his mouth shut to please his parents.

Written and directed by Michel Leclerc (along with his wife Baya Kasmi, they won a 2010 César for Best Screenplay), we see LOTS of nudity that is so natural we forget to be shocked. We see random acts of kindness that warm our hearts, and we see adult children who really care about their parents.

Deep down, these are really nice people and we want them to be happy. It's always so satisfying to have someone to root for.
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Here is a link to a trailer:
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