Starring: Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche
Director: Yann Samuell
Running Time: 90 mins
Love Me If You Dare (Jeux d’enfants) is a French film about a man and a woman, friends since childhood, whose relationship develops over the years centred around a game of daring each other to carry out more and more outlandish stunts, even though it regularly causes tensions with those around them.
I enjoyed this film. With a fun sense of nostalgia running throughout, as well as a sweet romance forming the core of the story, there’s a lot about Love Me If You Dare that can put a smile on your face. Although it doesn’t always succeed in making a passionate and delightful romance, it’s a fun watch throughout, and with a good degree of quirkiness and uniqueness, it stands well above many more formulaic chick flicks and romantic dramas.
Let’s start with what works best about this film, the relationship between the two main characters. The notion that the two have been right together for as long as they can remember is fully convincing from beginning to end, and that makes the emphasis the film puts on their relationship all the more engaging and relevant as the story unfolds.
When the going gets tough and the two characters aren’t together for various periods of time, the film is still all about their relationship, something that isn’t easy to pull off. Another reason that that works is definitely down to the two lead performances from Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard.
On the whole, both play their characters very well, and have an excellent rapport when it comes to their sweet but unorthodox relationship. Rather than playing the story up like a melodramatic romance, Canet and Cotillard place the characters’ childhood friendship at the centre of their performances, and that gives the film a much more playful and fun mood than something a little more cheesy.
That’s another thing that I really liked about this film: the fact that it’s not afraid to have fun with its story. Although it doesn’t always succeed in providing the unique quirkiness of Amélie that it is often clearly going for, Love Me If You Dare isn’t a typical romantic drama, meaning that there are a good few laughs throughout, and the film has a generally more fun-loving atmosphere.
That said, the romance here works well too. The lead performances play a big role in that, as does the strong directing that gives the romantic side of the story a sweet and heartwarming vibe. In line with the childhood nostalgia that runs throughout the plot, the more romance-oriented parts of the film did put a smile on my face, and I was happy to watch the two characters’ romantic relationship develop alongside their normal friendship.
The big problem for me comes in the form of the two leads’ likability. Whilst it’s clear that the two are perfectly compatible, and their relationship throughout the film is fully convincing, I can’t say that I was always delighted to see things go their way.
It’s a fun story, and that means their somewhat less than perfect personalities aren’t as much of a problem, but the fact remains that the two are often not the most lovable romantic leads you’ll ever see, and that has an impact on your passion and interest in the outcome of their relationship. Coupled with a somewhat silly ending, Love Me If You Dare doesn’t quite triumph in providing the great romance of a generation.
On the whole, however, I enjoyed Love Me If You Dare. Sweet and nostalgic, and featuring two entertaining and convincing performances throughout, there is a lot of fun to be had with this film, and even though the characters may not be the most likable of all time, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this pleasant, fun and moderately quirky movie, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.