A Faithful Man, written, directed by, and starring Louis Garrel is a quirky new indie comedy paying homage to the French New Wave. A bouncy and breezy watch buoyed by some excellent lead performances, this is sure to be one of the most refreshing rom-coms you will see this year.
Admittedly, the story of this film is a rather conventional love triangle, but given that this is an homage to the French New Wave, it works quite well. The only parts of the movie’s writing that don’t quite work are the twists and turns, which feel telegraphed. Otherwise, it is easy to get drawn into the story and its almost surreal world as you take a step into the rom-coms of yesteryear.
The film is also very well-paced. The runtime clocks in at around an hour and fifteen minutes and it breezes by. Granted, this movie certainly isn’t for everyone. If you are familiar with the films of the French New Wave, you will know that the stories deal with the absurdity of the mundanities of everyday life, and while there is a bit of added spice in this movie’s love triangle, many of the interactions won’t feel extraordinary or over-the-top.
Additionally, the humor in the film is dry and typical of French (and other European) styles of movie, so if you aren’t privy to said style of comedy, A Faithful Man probably won’t connect with you. However, if you take joy in the subtle sarcasm of the French, you will laugh out loud multiple times over the course of the film.
Also impressive is the character work in the movie. Like any great French New Wave film, the script of A Faithful Man is rooted in the moral ambiguity of the everyday characters. Throughout the movie, our allegiances are shifting constantly between the three lead characters as we discover new things about their personality or their actions.
The cast has absolutely wonderful chemistry together and really bring their characters to life. Garrel is as charming as ever as our “average guy” hero. He delivers the comedic lines with ease, and although he has one look of shock stuck on his face for most of the film, it works quite well for comedic effect. The other standout in the cast is Lily-Rose Depp, who gets a more substantial (and far more entertaining) role than usual.
On a technical level, the movie is pretty straightforward, which is somewhat disappointing given that the French New Wave was all about innovation, but it still works pretty well. The score and cinematography both do a phenomenal job of setting the tone of the film and giving it that overall quirky feel that is so important to making the movie enjoyable.
A Faithful Man may not work for everyone, but it is a breezy and thoroughly enjoyable rom-com. Garrel obviously put a lot of effort into this film, and it shows. Whatever Garrel does next is sure to be an exciting prospect.
A Faithful Man is now playing in select theaters.