Review: The Names of Love

Names of LovePicture this: a secluded scientist waits in a checkout line for his new love interest to return with an item. An unusual pickup for him, she had invaded his radio interview about bird flu (he's an expert) and then asked him to bed when they had drinks. They have a reencounter, which leads them to the market. When searching the shelves, she gets so sidetracked that she leaves, heads home (while the guy remains clueless holding the line), and gets so distracted that she ends up on the Metro, stark naked. An extreme scenario, yes, but really just a new French take on the time-old screwball comedy motif: straight guy meets crazy gal. Her madcap journey from the shelves to nude chaos reflects the classic genre's pace and mentality.

Now, the backdrop is political, as the families of Arthur Martin (Jacques Gamblin) and Bahia Benmahmoud (the addictively watchable Sara Forestier) both experienced tragedy (his birth Greek mother, to the Holocaust, and her father during the French Algerian War). The influence has caused different results – he, sheltered (as he was adopted by a conservative family) and she a fervent activist who converts Right Wing leaders by bedding them and whispering ideas into their ears during sex. She's tough to hold, as one ready to continue her rare form political avenging and marry illegal aliens to help them gain residency. It's territory ripe for romance, as opposites soon find common ground, though the film keeps us guessing about the outcome. Naturally, Sara is as outlandish as Arthur is reserved, but as usual, the two polars share an axis in this political romance. (Though the former style seems to dominate, the film's more of the latter).

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