From the moment that the world set eyes on Audrey Tautou in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie they fell in love. Her elfin beauty led to further cute performances in the likes of A Very Long Engagement and The Spanish Apartment but she was always a little pixie rather than a vision of lust. That has all changed with Pascal Bonnet’s Priceless.
Tautou plays Irene a gold digger with her eyes on the wallets of the rich. She becomes a trophy on their arm in exchange for diamonds, dresses and a decadent life style. Whilst in a hotel bar she drunkenly mistakes barman and waiter Jean, a hilarious performance by The Valet’s Gad Elmaleh, for a millionaire playboy and he is quite content to perpetuate the deception and lure her into bed. Before you can say volia, the hapless Jean is head over heels in love and Irene is on the streets after her previous benefactor found out about her discretion with the barman and cancelled her credit cards. The pair both head to the French Riviera where Irene bleeds the besotted Jean dry and he is left to follow in Irene’s footsteps and becomes a plaything of a rich French businesswoman. As Irene tutors Jean into the dark ways of the gold digger and how to get the most from your partner; her previously hard veneer softens and she realises that she is falling in love with Jean.
The Breakfast at Tiffany's comparisons are spot on. Much like Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly; Tautou’s Irene is a beautiful and mischievous character that everyone can’t help but fall in love with but beneath the charm is a sad lonely sole who basically sells herself for money. This potentially sad tale is given a delightful French twist by a spot on script and fabulous performances from the two leads. You just can’t help but love with Irene, with the possible exception of the scenes when she pushes Jean to spend every Euro to his name.
Visually the film recalls Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and shares that film’s eye for the rich and beautiful. Priceless is a frothy, light concoction that will melt most hearts. Perfectly cast, Elmaleh is a revelation and Tautou proves, once again, what a captivating actress she is. Let’s hope she stays in France to make more films like Priceless, she doesn’t need any more films like The Da Vinci Code blemishing her record.
Extras include the Making of Priceless, deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and the original theatrical trailer.
DVD available at www.madman.com.au