Clara et Moi (Arnaud Viard). 81 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (April 15). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Thirty-three is the new 16, or so this coming-of-middle-age tale would seem to imply.
Antoine ( Julien Boisselier ), a 30-something actor, has decided that he wants a family, but he doesn't know with whom. After socializing with some well-heeled Parisian boho friends, he meets Clara ( Julie Gayet ) on the metro, and they flirt. On their first date they sing a rather strained duet to a lacklustre French pop song on the banks of the Seine, an off-putting note of magic realism in a film with very little else that could be described as magical.
They fall in love and promptly encounter a serious obstacle that causes Antoine to reveal the extent of his crippling self-absorption.
For the rest of the film, Antoine behaves like a teenager, struggling with himself and trying to resolve some outstanding issues with his parents. It's fine as far as it goes, but the story feels thin, probably because the point of view is so firmly pegged to a narcissistic character with a few simple problems and little else in the way of an inner life.
The unsteady digital cinematography doesn't help. It's like spending 81 minutes at sea in a very small, lonely boat.