The film “Delicacy” is a delightful story with a name that does not seem to translate well from the French meaning. The movie is an adaptation of a French novel entitled “La Delicatesse” by author David Foenkinos. I believe the term “La Delicatesse” refers to the restaurant at which the two young people met and fell in love, initiating the events that followed, which were the basis for the main story which evolved.
Audrey Tautou Wikimedia
Nathalie (Audrey Tautou) stopped in the restaurant for a cup of coffee, and did not notice the young man, Francois (Pio Marmai) at another table. Francois did, however, notice Nathalie. In talking to himself, he decided that he would step over to speak to her, but only if she ordered something unusual, like apricot juice. Lo and behold, Nathalie ordered apricot juice. Francois went to her table and introduced himself.
They had a whirlwind courtship after finding out it was love at first sight for both of them. They loved each other deeply and were soon married. Friends and relatives badgered them about whether they were planning a family soon, but they decided to put that on hold.
Francois left the house one weekend morning to go jogging. Nathalie got a phone call from the hospital that Francois was hit by a car. Her life was shattered, losing her husband and soulmate. It was difficult for her to bring herself out of the mourning period. She wanted only to be alone.
Pio Marmai - Wikimedia
Nathalie has a New Job
Three years passed by, and Nathalie obtained a new job as a business executive in a prestigious Paris firm. She had not dated anyone since Francois passed away, nor did she want to. Her boss, Mr. Delamain (Bruno Todeschini), had fallen for her, but she could not reciprocate. He asked her to go to dinner one evening, which she accepted, only because she could not think of an excuse not to go. He tried to get a sense of whether she might be interested in a relationship with him, but Nathalie had to say bluntly that she was not attracted to him, and that they would have no future together. He was sorely disappointed.
Nathalie Kisses Markus
The next day, one of the people in Nathalie’s work group, Markus Lundell (Francois Damiens) stopped by her office to talk to her about Case #114. He was bowled over when Nathalie kissed him passionately, and did not know what to make of it. I found this hard to explain also; I never did understand why she did it. Markus was a balding 40-year-old with an awkward, dumb look on his face at all times, who made no attempt to improve his sociability. Markus went home with a smile on his face, wondering all evening just what Nathalie might be doing at that moment.
The next day at five o’clock, Markus walked into Nathalie’s office and kissed her. She did not object; in fact, she seemed to enjoy it. Markus asked her why she had kissed him the day before; she had no real explanation. They decided to go for dinner, and seemed to be compatible. Markus had a sense of humor which appealed to Nathalie. The menu was huge, and he remarked that #114 looked good to him. He was still unable to understand why a woman of her good looks and position would want to spend time with someone like himself.
Francois Damiens Wikimedia
A Romantic Night on the Town
Markus wanted to take Nathalie out for a romantic evening and decided that going to a play might be a good idea. They were both unaware of the looks from others who wondered at the unusual pairing of those two. After the show, they walked down the Paris streets, seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and talking easily to one another. She happened to mention that her father always bought her Pez candy which came in a doll-shaped case, and she had fond memories of that. Suddenly, Markus decided to run away, stating that he was falling in love and was afraid of getting hurt. He didn’t think they should see each other anymore.
A Special Gift for Nathalie
Nathalie let it slip the next day to her assistant Chloe (Melanie Bernier) that she and Markus had seen the play. Of course, it spread like wildfire throughout the office that Nathalie and Markus were seeing each other. One of the girls in the office was given a birthday party, and Markus walked in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her. He spoke to Nathalie and told her he had a special gift for her also, but he wanted her to wait until she got home to open it.
Nathalie was excited opening her gift at home. It was Pez candy. She went to see her father the next day, and had a good cry.
Eiffel Tower in Paris - Wikimedia
The Boss Interferes
Mr. Delamain asked Nathalie about her newly found friend, and indicated that he disapproved of it. He hinted that he could send Markus to the Swedish office. Nathalie was enraged and said that she would go there also.
The boss summoned Markus to his office to talk to him. He couldn’t figure out what Nathalie saw in him. He asked Markus to go to dinner with him. He said he wanted to get to know his best employees a little better. He discovered that Markus was a nice person with somewhat of a poetic bent. By this time, Mr. Delamain had a little too much to drink, so Markus sent him home in a cab. He then went to join Nathalie at her friend Sophie’s house so that he could meet her friends. Markus was a bit uncomfortable, especially because he had spilled a bottle of wine on the table. He and Nathalie left and went back to her place where they both fell asleep in separate chairs.
Nathalie Takes Markus to her Home Town
Nathalie wanted Markus to see the small town where she grew up. They drove there and went to the cemetery where her husband Francois was buried, but it was locked. She wanted Markus to meet her grandmother who welcomed them lovingly. She whispered to Nathalie “He is a good man.” The next day, they walked through all of the grounds where Nathalie played when she was a child. It was obvious that these two would have a future together.
Audrey Tautou, who played Nathalie, is a beautiful young lady who was perfect for the part. I forgot to mention that the actors spoke French throughout, but there were English sub-titles. It did not take away from the enchantment provided by this wonderful “feel-good” movie.