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Originally published July 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM | Page modified July 23, 2009 at 3:42 PM

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Movie review

'The Girl from Monaco': a romantic triangle with plenty of twists

"The Girl from Monaco," a French film directed by Anne Fontaine, focuses on an unlikely romantic triangle that includes a weather girl (Louise Bourgoin), an attorney (Fabrice Luchini) and his bodyguard (Roschdy Zem).

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3 stars

"The Girl from Monaco," with Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem, Louise Bourgoin, Stephane Audran. Directed by Anne Fontaine, from a screenplay by Fontaine and Benoit Graffin. 95 minutes. Rated R for some sexual content and language. In French with English subtitles. Seven Gables; see Page 17.

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Audrey (Louise Bourgoin) is a television weather girl, the tanned and scantily clad sort who whispers and coos her forecasts and tosses around her blond mane like a lightning rod. Bertrand (Fabrice Luchini) is an attorney caught up in a high-profile murder case, refined and precise and carefully controlled. Christophe (Roschdy Zem) is his bodyguard — or, as Christophe prefers to be called, his CPA (Close Protection Agent) — who stands straight as a needle, and is a master of wordless, enigmatic looks.

These three form an unlikely romantic triangle in Anne Fontaine's not-quite-comedy, not-quite drama "The Girl from Monaco." Set against a backdrop of sun-swept beaches and lavish candy-box hotels, it's the story of how Bertrand unexpectedly falls for Audrey, who isn't quite as sweet and simple as she initially seems, and of how Christophe attempts to make matters right. Reminiscent of Nicole Kidman's ruthless weather girl in "To Die For," Audrey has even more ambition than she has hair, and she's not afraid to do whatever it takes to get ahead — including suggesting a reality show for Bertrand, depicting how the staid lawyer has been transformed by Monaco.

Despite Bourgoin's dazzling presence (this actress — who got her start as a real-life weather girl — is so beautiful she barely seems human), it's the hollow-eyed Luchini who quietly takes over the film. This French veteran of stage and screen, so comically wistful a few years back in Patrice Leconte's "Intimate Strangers," makes Bertrand a poignant figure, a man dazzled by perfume and breezy charm. In Audrey's wildly decorated, floral-pattern-filled (and Princess Di- inspired) apartment, he's a button-down oddball and he knows it, but he's nonetheless enthralled. "I think I love you," he tells her, surprising himself with the words.

Fontaine lets the story unfold with plenty of surprises for us as well, particularly as Christophe becomes more entangled in his boss's affairs. Love, we learn, comes in many forms, as changeable as the weather.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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