Priceless (2006)

After falling asleep on the job, shy waiter Jean (Gad Elmaleh) deceives a beautiful golddigger into thinking he’s extremely wealthy. A year after their first night together – on Irène’s (Audrey Tautou) birthday no less – Irène returns to the same hotel so that the two can hook up again. Caught in the act by her elderly lover, she returns to Jean pretending to have fallen in love with him. Having quickly squandered Jean’s modest savings, she moves onto greener pastures leaving a heart-broken Jean to start over in his cringily futile efforts to woo her. Picked up by a rich spinster, Jean and Irène begin an unusual and secret romance as they live separate pampered lives, leaving their respective unsuspecting lovers to pick up the tab. As their late-starting romance becomes endangered and their meal-tickets suspicious, Irène finally has to choose between her feelings and the extravegant life she has become accustomed to.

It has taken me more than a month to finally review Priceless (originally Hors de Prix), a movie I enjoyed despite it’s lack of relatable characters, an engaging story or any believable human behaviour. Had Vivian Irène only been a fledgeling prostitute and Edward Jean a sympathetic millionnaire, this would be a much easier review to write. As it happens, Tautou plays, for all intents and purposes, a complete and utter bitch who leaches off anyone with a credit card; while the jumpy Jean takes passivity to a whole new level with his quickly pathetic doting – take a bloody hint! Embarrassing from the outset – as Jean devotes everything, his dignity included – and completely ridiculous by movie’s end, bypassing humour altogether in a feat of incomprehensible self-importance, I can only think of one reason I’m not tearing Priceless apart with all the mercy of a starved Great White Shark: Audrey Tautou.

While it’s true that her character is about as sympathetic as cancer, largely due to the staggering amount of time it takes her to realise how much of a heartless cow she’s been, there is something about her which is nevertheless endearing. While I refuse to whittle this redemption down to her truly impossible good looks, the elegance with which she abuses her admirers is so convincing that you’re nigh throwing your own wallet at the screen. She is beautifully dignified, wondrously shallow and delightfully predatory, her ongoing disdain at her blundering stalker perfectly etched across her bewitching features.

Priceless, then, is an incredibly French movie. Distractingly quirky as director Pierre Salvadori staves off the more traditional romance until the very end, the film serves to illustrate how dependant on the stereotypic tropes of the romantic comedy we are, however much we might deny it. Hindered with Europe’s least compelling leading man, and boasting some of the most debatable morals you’ll see wearing a designer dress (though by no means as offensive as Sex and the City 2), Priceless is often too avant garde for its own good.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Priceless (2006)

  1. Pingback: February 2011 – Do you know the “f” word? « popcornaddict

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