Arts and Entertainment

'Not My Type' is the anti romantic comedy | SIFF Review

'Not My Type'
— image credit: Seattle International Film Festival

Not My Type | May 27 at Lincoln Square, June 1 at Egyptian Theatre, June 6 at AMC Pacific Place 11. 111 min.

In the hands of an American studio, Lucas Belvaux’s “Not My Type” might have reached screens as a typical “opposites attract” story. In the case of this French production, the opposites are stoic philosophy professor Clement (Loïc Corbery) and bubbly hairdresser Jennifer (Émilie Dequenne). Clement is devastated to discover he is being transferred from his beloved Paris to a post in the northern city of Arras, but he quickly takes up with Jennifer and begins an involved relationship.

All the typical tropes of standard romance stories are here — the meet-cute, the honeymoon period, the break-up and the make-up — but they’re subdued to a whisper. The movie constantly subverts our expectations of what will come next. And no sooner are expectations reset then they’re shattered completely.

To understand this movie, you have to understand its thesis. There’s a scene where the primary characters reconcile over the phone, a scene familiar to any romance aficionado. This is the scene where the characters pour their hearts out, give their reasons for being so cold, so angry, so inadequate as a partner. But here — because we already know what’s being said, from years of training by pop culture — we’re treated only to the reactions on the other end of the line. Those reactions are what “Not My Type” is concerned with — not what’s happening, but what’s happening out of sight. Even knowing this, the ending of the film is a baffler. But perhaps it’s only challenging the viewer to dig deeper, finding the buried clues that barely grazed top soil.

 

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