Review by Sean Boelman
Co-written and directed by Cédric Klapisch (Back to Burgundy), Someone Somewhere offers a sweet and tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of romantic comedy tropes. A surprisingly insightful look at love in the modern world, this film may not be what fans of the genre expect, there’s still plenty of charm here.
The movie follows two twenty-somethings in Paris as they struggle to keep afloat in their own lives while navigating the increasingly complex world of modern dating. On paper, it seems like this is going to be a conventional meet-cute romantic comedy, but Klapisch and co-writer Santiago Amigorena take an unorthodox approach in regards to that particular cliché.
For the first twenty minutes or so, audiences may be confused as the narrative cuts between the different storylines at seemingly random intervals. However, once viewers are able to gain their footing and realize what Klapisch and Amigorena have set up, they will undeniably be intrigued and drawn into this reverse romantic comedy.
Much like a lot of Klapisch’s work, the humor in this movie isn’t overly obvious. There’s some situational humor here and there, and the dialogue certainly has a bit of wit to it, but a majority of the film’s laughs come from the filmmaker’s commentary on the absurdity of romance in the modern world.
One of the more interesting things about the movie is its character development. Klapisch and Amigorena exaggerate the idea that opposites attract by building the characters to be very different. He is a working man who is fed up with the increasing automation of the workforce, and she is a privileged scientist frustrated with the banality of her lifestyle, but there is something that unites them. (The film’s French title Deux moi — “Two of Me” — captures this a bit more accurately than its English alternative.)
Both François Civil and Ana Girardot do an excellent job in their roles. The unorthodox structure of the film calls for a different type of chemistry than is usual for the genre, but they pull it off in an impressive fashion. They are able to nail both their individual arcs and the overall arc of the movie.
While the film doesn’t have the same level of beauty as Klapisch’s previous movie, Back to Burgundy, he still made some very interesting choices when it comes to its execution. Perhaps the most intriguing of these is the use of spatial geography in the film, giving the viewer a greater sense of where they are in order to draw them deeper into this relationship.
Someone Somewhere succeeds as a riff on the romantic comedy. Although it is hard to describe exactly what this movie is without spoiling the surprises it has in store, know that it’s very breezy and extremely smart.
Someone Somewhere is now streaming online in partnership with indie theaters. A list of participating locations can be found here.