A Love Story (2023)

April 15th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: Alexis Michelik | Cast: Juliette Delacroix, Marie-Camille Soyer, Pauline Bresson, Leontine d’Onceiu | France, Drama 88′

Alex Michelik takes no time in cracking on with this formulaic lesbian love story that gradually spools out as a less convincing version of Ghost, Summertime and The Spectacular Now. So you get three films for the price of one – albeit with more plotholes than London’s Finchley Road.

The same sex affair at its core is a nice idea and, as suggested, this coup de coeur catches fire in the early scenes of A Love Story leading us to believe that Michelik, – who also stars – has something else up his sleeve for the reminding sixty odd minutes of his sophomore feature that makes the female orgasm its recurring motif.

Within twenty minutes of meeting lesbian journalist Katia Markowitz (Delacroix) and Justine (Soyer) are enjoying carnal pleasures, even though the latter has been heterosexual so far in her life. The two arrange to see each other again and are soon bosom buddies discussing Justine’s burning desire to have child. Their whirlwind romance sees them ‘getting married’ in a outdoor social gathering that allows her brother William (Michelik), a successful author, to promote his recent book before the assembled crowd.

A Spanish fertility clinic offers the women two bites of the cherry from a sperm donor but it’s Justine who falls pregnant and soon comes all broody and temperamental. And that’s when the problems start and the orgasms – thankfully- stop. Justine packs her bags without explanation, cue – a flashback to all the happy times they’ve shared together – as Katia goes into emotional meltdown. Amid footage of street riots (totally unexplained) Katia is pictured giving birth to a girl called Jeanne (d’Oncieu) feeling justifiably disgruntled that it was Justine who wanted a child in the first place. 

Fast forward a decade or so and mother Katia finds out the cancer she suffered earlier (?) has come back with a vengeance leaving her with only weeks to live, and desperate for someone to look after the pre-teen Jeanne. Well the obvious choice is her brother William who has now become an alcoholic not capable of looking after himself let alone a child: In the intervening years, a car accident has left him a widower with a severe brain injury. 

Cut a long story short (although this is a fairly short film as features go nowadays)  Jeanne moves in with William – who has an advance to write another book – and becomes his mother figure. This coupling feels way more entertaining and real than the lesbian twosome, Jeanne now posing all the relevant questions we’ve been wondering about from the film’s beginning. Meanwhile, the ghost of William’s wife (?) is following them about everywhere, dancing to the strains of Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Every Time I Say Goodbye’. The most poignant scene sees William admitting to Jeanne she’s a far better writer than he is, having read her private diary, much to her consternation. She is then left to make a decision about whether she is taken into care or stays with her ‘adopted’ father who could die any moment from a subdural hematoma. 

At this point, the lesbians surface again on a motorway service station, Justine having agreed to take a week’s holiday to their beloved Mont St Michel. This time the relationship also feels far more authentic than the fake fairytale they were living before their break up (with the obligatory shot of her on the loo, just to make it all seem real), Justine confessing she was never a lesbian anyway, but to round off it all off, we have to endure another or her orgasms with Katia very much alive and kicking. MT


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