26 October 2013 | MartinHafer
Making the incredibly mundane interesting....
My daughter recently saw this film at a festival in Philadelphia and insisted I should see it as well. Fortunately, it's now streaming on Netflix and I got a chance to see it myself today.
The subject matter for this film is incredibly mundane--so mundane and dull that it's a wonder that the film would hold your interest. However, it managed very well. Who would have thought a film about a woman training to be a speed-typing world champion could be so much fun? Plus, while I am not sure about this, I assume there never has been any sort of international speed-typing competition and I KNOW if there had been one, they wouldn't have been celebrities like the folks in this film. However, I kind of liked this, as it was a bit silly and added to the kooky charm of the film.
The movie begins with Rose (Déborah François) leaving her small town and going to the city to get a job as a secretary. However, despite being able to type remarkably fast using the hunt and peck method, she isn't a very good secretary. However, her grouchy boss, Louis (Romain Duris) hires her anyway, as he's VERY impressed by her typing. However, it's soon obvious he's not that interested in her being a secretary and much more interested in training her to be a speed-typing champion. He moves her into his home, cooks for her and coaches her unmercifully--all to make her a champion. However, despite Rose winning competition after competition, Louis never acts happy--and keeps driving her. Rose is adorable and sweet, and yet Louis is almost machine-like in his detachment. What's next? See this strange and quirky film.
The best thing about the film is its design. I love the late 1950s look and unlike some period films, this one tried very, very hard to get the look right. I also loved Rose as a characters. But the film also had problems. Despite liking it very much, Louis' character is too unlikable--and her falling for him (like Liza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady") made no sense. Sure, he's handsome but he's also incredibly selfish and under-emotive. Additionally, the film is pure formula throughout--the only difference are all the nice trappings and nice way the director handled the familiar themes. Overall, a great date movie and a nice rom-com that isn't too demanding. I would like to give the film a 7.5, though IMDb won't allow that. I enjoyed it a lot even with its clichés (such as how Rose's father behaves late in the film).
By the way, I looked it up and there really was a Japy typewriter company in France--it was not created for the film.