Forget Sprinting, swimming or even curling, for in Populaire the biggest sport is typing!
Populaire is a french romantic comedy set in the 1950’s. Rose Pamphyle (Deborah Francois) is a naive village girl hired as a secretary for an insurance agency run by Louis Echard (Romain Duris). Although she is a rubbish secretary it transpires she is a fast typist. So to keep her job Louis tells her to compete in a typing competition. With Louis as her trainer she’s on course to becoming a typing champion.
In the world of Populaire typing is treated as a serious sport. Cue hilarious training montages, and slow motion ‘action’ sequences. It’s a world easy to get drawn into and you find yourself cheering Rose on in her quest as much as you’re cheering for her and Louis to get together.
The two leads have lovely chemistry together, and both have their own individual struggles. Rose wants to prove to her father that she can make a career for herself and also be seen as an equal to Louis rather than just a student and employee. Louis struggles to be open about his emotions. His closed off behaviour can be quite cold at times and if it wasn’t for the charms of Duris you’d be wondering if Rose is better off without him.
The film also has great supporting players in Louis’ friends Marie (Berenice Bejo-The Artist) and her American husband Bob (Shawn Benson). With them we can see a different side to Louis-his scenes with childhood friend Marie is laced with sadness, while there are plenty of laughs over Louis and Bob’s bets over Rose’s competition.
While the film is funny and cute during it’s run for some reason it doesn’t leave a huge lasting impression after the credits roll. I enjoyed the film but am in no big rush to watch it again anytime soon. Although it did remind me how much I enjoyed Duris in the French comedy Heartbreaker.
Fun and frothy-an enjoyable way to spend a free afternoon