Jeanne’s research project, Nausicaa, was designed to remove microplastics and other waste from the ocean, making the world a better place. She consistently wrestles with her inner voice, which speaks to her, suggesting she would be better off just walking in front of a bus. Confidence and positive thinking are not Jeanne’s strong points. Instead, she is wrestling with depression.
After speaking with her lawyer, Jeanne is told she’s on the verge of bankruptcy and will need to liquidate and sell everything off. Investors are pulling out of her newest project, and the banks cannot assist her. With no other option, Jeanne (Blanche Gardin) is forced to travel to Lisbon and sell her mother’s home, which she inherited last year. Thanks to her brother, Jeanne is given some cash and a credit card to travel by plane. While travelling, something unexpected occurs- she bumps into her old high school friend, Jean (Laurent Lafitte), who reminds her of past moments, including that once upon a time, everyone loved Jeanne.
Everybody Loves Jeanne is quite a unique film. If you begin watching expecting a romcom, you will be surprised as the film combines romance and drama with a few comedic moments thanks to Jeanne’s inner voice. The concept of Jeanne consistently wrestling with her inner voice, which here is another character, is an excellent, creative and fun concept that has yet to be done in cinema. The animations that occur to narrate Jeanne’s thoughts are also excellent and entertaining.
The audio is worth mentioning. The sound mixing throughout the film is excellent and rewarding, mainly when Jeanne listens to her inner thoughts, which speak more loudly than anything else around her. One example of this is when Jeanne is walking, and her inner thoughts make comments about her jacket covering some toothpaste and her shoes being too noisy, going “clack clack clack”. Sound effects are used intelligently and innovatively. Music and sound effects create tension and drama excellently, and creative lighting in some scenes leaves a solid impression.
The pacing of this film worked well for the most part. The opening and introduction to Jeanne’s current lifestyle and wrestle with depression are clear and touching. Jeanne is forced to travel back home and not only clear out her mother’s personal effects but also look back at her past while attempting to sort herself out, which affects her future. The interaction Jeanne has with her old school friend Jean also makes the film more lively, and the romance aspect here is also delightful as we witness an unexpected friendship slowly be developed. While most of the pacing is excellent, I found the second act slow and lingering in a central part of the plot longer than I felt was ideal. The film delivers a pleasing conclusion even though its pace seems slightly rushed.
Overall, if you’re expecting a fun rom-com, you will be surprised. Instead, this follows a lead who finds an unexpected romance while continually wrestling with depression. How depression is illustrated here is terrific, and the film successfully creates an additional character out of Jeanne’s thoughts. It’s a film with plenty of heartfelt moments, with a touching concept of sometimes having to look back to move forward to a greater tomorrow. Everybody Loves Jeanne (2022) is available at Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2023. For more information, check out the link here: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/.