Love Songs (2007; Dir. Christophe Honore) – Though it’s been in New York for a while, the movie just came to Philly. Movie musicals are hit or miss, and this one is a hit, albeit with a few misses to start.
A French story of romantic entanglements (some obvious, some unrequited and unspoken), Les Chansons d’amour gets off a rough start. This isn’t really the film’s fault. It simply takes awhile to get used to Honore’s musical style: in the vein of Once, but a bit less natural. Still, as other reviewers have pointed out, Honore has a touch for the sentimental and knows how to draw subtle performances from his actors, adding emotional weight to the otherwise ridiculous act of singing in the street.
What saved the movie for me, however, is personal. Halfway into the film, Honore flips the narrative into one of finding love in unexpected places. I won’t reveal the end, because it’s absolute magic — the final shot is a touch of genius. But I will say the movie contains — arguably — the best gay sex scene I’ve seen on film. And I’ve seen a lot.
To fall in love with Love Songs, I had to cast off my cynicism. I gave up and said to myself: “this is about the loneliness and romance of Paris, in Paris, and of the young. There’s nothing more, nothing less.” Just love it.