Paul (Guillaume Gouix) is a sweet unassuming man-child in his 30s who lives with his aunties and plays piano in their dance studio. He hasn’t said a word since he saw his parents untimely death whilst a toddler. His routine life is made up of piano practice and pastries and gets shaken up when he meets his neighbour Madame Proust (Anne Le Ny) who using various “herbal remedies” helps him unlock his past and break out of his straight jacketed existence.
From Sylvain Chomet the writer/director of award winning animations Belleville Rendezvous and The Illusionist comes a live action film straight out of the mould of Amelie. Although as you would expect from the writer of those previous films there is an overall air of melancholia and nostalgia throughout the film there is still a sweetness and quiet joy to carry you through.
This film is beautifully shot, the colours fairly pop out of the screen. The compositions are glorious to behold and Chomet creates a whimsical version of life as is his style. Music plays a big part of the tale; helping to unlock memories and Paul’s inner self, they vary from piano recitals, to music box to trippy jazz bands. There is a touch of the surreal about this film and dreams and nightmares feature prominently.
Guillaume Gouix plays Paul to perfection; there is something of the Rainman about him. He utters not a word for pretty much the whole of the film but his face is Chaplinesque in its subtleties and tragic-comic nuance.
This is a delightful film.