My brother sent me a message a few months ago on Facebook that contained nothing but a trailer to a French film I had never heard of, but as my brother is also the one who introduced me to Wicked, The Edge Chronicles and the much overlooked American High School surrealist drama Popular, I knew that this latest offering would be interesting. Joshua has this wonderful talent of finding interesting things that are perfectly suited to my tastes.
The film Joshua sent me this time is called Populaire, I finally saw it in full over the weekend and before we go any further you should see the trailer too!
Now, if you didn’t watch the trailer I will fill you in on the plot. Populaire is about a young woman called Rose who is terrible in her first job as a secretary but has a remarkable talent for speed-typing. Her grumpy and dishy boss recognises this talent and enters her into a speed-typing competition. Rose excels and enters into the glamorous and cut-throat world of speed-typing championship.
The film is extremely stylized and set in the 1958 which makes it an absolute feast for the eyes if you enjoy vintage style and fashion. In terms of tone, we are talking quirky, light-hearted with a little bit of a sharp edge coming through now and then, like a citron-tart!
As well as the main focus of Rose and her journey to world champion there is also a very interesting side-plot involving the grumpy boss, his American best friend and the best friend’s wife. These three characters have lived side by side for years in close friendship and yet there are still cracks from a long-buried love triangle. It makes an interesting dynamic.
Rose is a charming protagonist. Sweet but not necessarily as naïve as she looks. She is direct and daring, and resilient. I found her very likable and she strikes a balance between being open-hearted and savy. She has all the best lines especially in the brilliant Christmas family scenes that I won’t spoil by over explaining.
There were also a fair amount of chuckles to have on the way, especially as Rose reaches the higher levels of the competitions. The defending speed-typing champions are so expressive with flared nostrils and raised eyebrows that the language barrier disappears. It is clear to tell what is going on even if you ignored the subtitles.
This was a little delight of a film. If you liked the stylized style of Down with Love, the French small town community of Chocolat and the niche competitive world that Sport Films often satirize in films like Dodgeball you will love Populaire!