Populaire tells the story of Rose. A young woman from a small village, who works in her father’s shop by day and dreams of something more by night. She dreams of being…a secretary. Being that it’s the 1950s I guess this was quite modern of her, and as far as her disapproving father is concerned, this is all pretty radical – not wanting to marry a local boy and settle down, but to be independent.So, off she goes to a to town to apply for a secretarial role for an insurance man and when she displays an outstanding talent for speed-typing, the wheels are set in motion for a unique romantic comedy vehicle. From here on in the romantic element of Populaire is a somewhat formulaic.
Populaire doesn’t really have anything new to say, about love or relationships. In fact, its down-right old-fashioned considering how modern our heroine seems at the start of the film, and this is the film’s biggest flaw. There is an endearing innocence to it though, that reminds me of those 1960s films starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. It really is hard not to like.
The styling is gorgeous, I absolutely loved the 1950s outfits, cars and decor – the whole thing just looks good enough to eat. The characters are interesting, and we gain a level of understanding of them that you don’t always get with modern rom-coms. Perhaps most surprising though, is how they managed to make the bonkers world of competitive typing, not only interesting, but exciting!
Considering that romantic comedies aren’t generally my bag, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Populaire. It has warmth and charm by the bucket, and an original premise, to boot.
Special mention goes to Déborah François from The Page Turner who is adorable and relatable as the strong-willed Rose.