Directed by Jean-Pierre Améris
Opens November 25, Quad Cinema
Romantics Anonymous is about the private comfort of sweets, and, as a romance that gently coddles the fantasies of shut-ins, it is the cinematic equivalent of its subject. A painfully shy but secretly gifted chocolatier, Angélique (Isabelle Carré, almost transparent with her milky complexion) gets an ill-fitting job as a tongue-tied sales rep for a chocolate company, The Chocolate Mill. Her new boss, Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), is similarly plagued by a generalized anxiety, though he hides behind a facade of aloofness. Their mutually impossible personalities clash at a dinner date—Carré and Poelvoorde spend much of the movie teetering on the brink of breaking into outright panic—but Angélique and Jean-René melt together when they get on the subject of chocolate, fashioning a new specialty line to save the Mill from bankruptcy. Angélique defends the product she’s selling as “solid,” and “good, old-fashioned chocolate,” but the company’s last client, getting ready to drop her order, deems it “obsolete.” The same adjectives can apply to Romantics Anonymous—Améris’s recipe here calls for everything in moderation, resulting in a movie that never threatens to offend nor, particularly, to delight, though it does offer a good view on a modestly charming actors’ duet.