Odd couple couplings are nothing new in cinema (then again, what is nowadays?). And whilst the central relationship of Angele and Tony will not go down as one of the great movie romances, writer-director Alix Delaporte's debut feature is a surprisingly affecting film none the less.
Angele (Clotilde Hesme), young, svelt and a bundle of nervous energy, has recently been released from prison. Her crime isn't specified but may have involved the death of her lover and father of her young estranged son, now in the care of his fraternal grandparents.
As part of her parole, Angele needs employment and answers a personals ad posted by Tony (Gregory Gadebois). The ad is either for a fisherman's wife or simply a housekeeper, I'm not entirely sure, but Angele assumes there is a sexual component required of the arrangement and makes a move. In his 30s, overweight, ruddy-cheeked and silent, Tony is Angele's polar opposite. He also rebuffs her advances but still finds a room in his house for her and a job (preparing and selling the fish he catches) working alongside his mother with whom he lives.
Angele's and Tony's relationship plays out as some awkward courting ritual, with the stoic Tony playing hard to get and Angele working hard to impress. It's not that Tony doesn't want Angele but he doesn't want it to be easy. Intimacy should be earned not given freely, and when it is it's a rewarding experience, both for Angele and Tony and the audience.
Some may take issue with the film's younger woman-older man dynamic (which isn't all that pronounced; Hesme and Gadebois are former theatre cohorts) but I don't think that's the point of Delaporte's film. I prefer to think of it as a modern day Gallic take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, complete with an emotionally satisfying happy ending.