Like many of you, I got to know for the first time Jean Dujardin thanks to his interpretation of George Valentin in “The Artist”, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Lead Actor in 2012. Then I saw him again years later in a dramatic role in “French Connection”, another film that I enjoyed very much.
In “Up For Love”, thanks to special effects, Dujardin is actually playing the role of a person with dwarfism in a hilarious comedy that also leads you to think.
His skills as an actor are once again undisputed and emerge even more in the roles in which he cannot take advantage of one of his qualities. In “The Artist” it was his voice and in this film it’s his handsomeness. Yes, because Dujardin is undoubtedly a handsome man and manages to keep intact his charm also in the role of Alexandre, who is barely one metre thirty-six centimetres tall.
I must say that the special effects, while lowering him, have not rendered faithfully the altered proportions caused by dwarfism, but applying a certain suspension of disbelief, he is convincing enough, especially in shots where you don’t see his body in full.
Beyond these technical aspects, “Up For Love” is a really nice movie.
Well, the protagonists are anything but poor devils. Alexandre is a famous architect living in a villa with a swimming pool along with his ambitious son, who for the moment is economically dependent on him (but he is bound to succeed). Diane (played by the Belgian actress Virginie Efira) is a lawyer who owns a law firm together with her former husband.
The whole context in which they move is very movie-like: parties, gallery openings, parachuting (which seems almost a no-brainer that anyone could practice), houses that seem royal palaces, secret venues, and so on.
The distribution and timing of the gags are absolutely perfect, so that the film slips away fast between a laugh and the other.
Alexandre could be the classic Prince Charming; he is charming, funny, successful, but he lacks at least forty centimetres to achieve perfection, forty centimetres that weigh a lot.
Despite some quite deliberately unrealistic elements of the plot, it is easy to step into the shoes of Diane, who, although being in love with Alexandre, suffers the judgment of others.
It can be easy to say that love overcomes all obstacles, but in reality standing alongside someone who is different creates many problems. Ignoring them and pretending they don’t matter doesn’t make them disappear, but what this little cinema gem tries to convey is that you need to be aware and find ways to deal with them day-to-day, as it should always happen between two people who decide to share their lives.
Of course, if you are rich as the main characters of “Up For Love”, it is undoubtedly easier!
In other words this is a film that combines a non-trivial reflection and comic situations, beautifully rendered by the skill of the cast (not only of the two lead actors).
After watching it you feel refreshed and in good spirits, but you haven’t completely turned off your brain for a hundred minutes.