Release Date: July 21
Beautiful Lies is full of the sort of mistruths about love and relationships that only someone who has little experience with either will be likely to believe.
Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code, Amelie) stars as Emilie, a sharp-tongued hairdresser who is more interested in establishing her business than forming relationships. When she receives an anonymous letter from a smitten admirer, she believes it to be the best material for cheering up her depressed mother, Maddy. Emilie re-addresses the note, then feeds her mum several more fabrications so that she won’t be crushed by her impending divorce. Meantime Maddy has become convinced that the love notes come from Jean, her daughter’s new handyman. She’s right, though Jean is obviously enraptured with Emilie not her, and a bizarre love triangle ensues.
Beautiful Lies would have been that much more entertaining if the writers had left it at the level of a comedy. There are several laugh-out-loud moments as Emilie, Maddy and Jean fumble around each other looking for affection. But the tragedy lies not so much in their struggle to form meaningful relationships but the film’s attempts to try and say something serious about love.
Maddy’s mother struggles with the fact that her husband is marrying a younger woman but finds comfort in advice Jean gives her. She explains to Emilie,
“He told me if my love was a burden, I had to stop loving him. That is the ultimate gesture: to stop loving someone, but out of love for them.”
That’s the prettiest description of selfishness I’ve ever heard. And though Emilie tells Jean that, “Truth is fundamental to a relationship,” her words are full of irony. They have just spent the last two hours deceiving and being deceived, only to come together as a devoted couple at the end. Apparently it’s not truth that matters but the ability to put up with deception for the sake of happiness.
Lies? Yes. Beautiful? Not so much.