À la folie… pas du tout (Ou si tu ne parle pas français, He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not) is a stunning piece of French cinema made to linger. Subverting genres and challenging expectations, Laetitia Colombani’s psychological drama compels in charming visuals, then grows to captivate in its unexpected thematic thrills.
But it all begins quite simply in the story of a young art student Angelique (Audrey Tautou)’s affair with a middle-aged cardiologist, Loic (Samuel Le Bihan). Her conviction in his eventual separation with his wife seems destined to end in tragedy, though not of the kind consumers of the romantic genre would expect.
Reminiscent of Irreversible, the underlying narrative device is a well-utilised non-linear technique that stretches the boundaries of cinema. The unreliable narrator returns the suspecting viewer to the beginning, just as we might have thought the story was over. Things are then seen from a disparate vantage point that reveals a shocking twist in its entirely different narrative.
The contrast in the latter part’s consistent mood of paranoia makes one skin’s crawl, as her perturbing obsession continually haunts. Stunning cinematography compels in the visual symbolisms, which deeply interest in their initial subtlety that increasingly becomes vivid upon the film’s revelatory mid-point.
With her perpetual mania that only ends up better hidden than cured when the credits roll, the audience is left room to ruminate over the complexity of relationships that often hold a hidden side. A seemingly ordinary tale of romance and betrayal becomes a psychological exploration that delves into the fascinating study of disturbing delusions.