Hyperactive Julien (Guillaume Canet) and shy Sophie (Marion Cotillard) are pre-teen misfits who forge a bond based on their mutual hardships--for Julien it's his mother's terminal illness, and for Sophie it's the ridicule she receives for being Polish. They devise a game in which the passing of a tin carousel between them signals the recipient to carry out an outrageous dare designed by the other, with the trouble they get into only serving to bring them closer together. Ten years later, Julien and Sophie are in college--and while they have both grown to be attractive and intelligent, their relationship is still only platonic and their disruptive game still continues at a fevered pace. Continuing into adulthood and forging separate lives, their dares become more hurtful to each other. It soon becomes apparent that the game has only served to prevent them from admitting their true feelings for each other. This dark and whimsical debut from director Yann Samuell shows the influence of Luc Besson and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, sidestepping traditional French cinematic austerity in favor of splashy, big-budget visuals. In fact, the entrancing first act (in which Julien and Sophie are children) is bathed in a beautiful autumnal glow and features a kinetic style reminiscent of Jeunet's AMELIE. As Julien and Sophie's game escalates, LOVE ME IF YOU DARE lands in bleaker territory, with the performances of Canet and Cotillard and a daring ending giving this surprising romantic fantasy an uncommon resonance.
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This is a brilliant film. It discusses the changes in the relationship between the two main characters Sophie Kowalsky (Marion Cotillard) and Julien Janvier (Guillaume Canet) as they progress from childhood friends through their teens and on to adulthood. The story revolves around a game of dare, where by the dares get progressively more outrageous for which the winner gets the prize (a tin painted to look like a merry-go-round). As the dares progress, Julien starts to back down, whilst Sophie's dares get dangerous, sometimes putting their futures in danger, revealing her somewhat unhinged psychology.
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Quirky, witty, charming! Not your stereotypical rom-com, this film is so much more! Wonderful performances, especially by Marion Cotillard, who never fails to bring something new to each and every character she takes on. I would high recommend everyone to give this a go, and not to be put off by the fact it's French with subtitles.
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