Margot is a beautiful, rosy cheeked, mischievous young woman, evidently adored by her husband, Lou, and his family. The home she shares with her culinary skilled husband is as colourful and unique as the relationship they have. Their lives are characterised by a lack of uniformity, both in their endeavours to pursue their chosen careers as a writer (of obscure tourist attractions) and published (chicken) chef, and in the wonderfully childlike interactions they have with one another. From their relentless cuttingly phrased endearments of “I love you”, to the ongoing pranks meant to go undiscovered for the duration of their lifetime together, upon initial observations, you kind of want to be that couple.
In true predictability, there is a third person to this love story. The gorgeous, single, free-spirited Daniel is snared by Margot’s playful public antics and then coincidentally moves to a bedsit on the same street. What ensues is a personal battle for Margot to instil the desires aroused by Daniel’s arrival, into her marriage.
[SPOILER ALERT: stop reading if you have not yet seen the film!]
Cheesiness aside, I found the characters depicted in this story to be true representations of both myself and people I have known. Margot has a deep love for someone whom she shares the same sense of humour and with whom she has created a history which feels near impossible to overthrow, but who simultaneously appears to be secondary to their partner’s ultimate goal or chosen path. Margot forgoes her sexual desires and when confronting these with her husband, is dismissed, belittled, and almost ridiculed for making such a proclamation. Lou, whose gags and his claimed undying love for Margot, would be an easy character to love, but his stereotypical approach to long-term marital relations evoked a distinct unpleasant aftertaste for me. Complacency and a lack of appreciation in the other person’s values and qualities was exposed in its most poignant form, for me, on their anniversary dinner when Lou affirms, “we live together, what else do we have to say to each other?”
The character of Daniel, the catalyst for the realisation of Margot’s conflict, functions essentially to demonstrate how someone with very little material offering can offer what is fundamentally required to actually make a person – who otherwise “has it all” – happy. In my opinion, this portrayed how fragile human relationships can be as we witness Margot almost shaping her later relationship with him into that of the one she had with her husband, but with the addition of mutual sexual desire.
This apparent “gap” was wonderfully illustrated in one of the film’s closing scenes, when Lou’s alcoholic sister falls off the wagon. It perfectly captured the two sides of the coin and highlighted what I felt was the underlying question this film sought its viewers to consider:
Do we settle for the fact that we may have urges or needs that are not always satisfied, and that we should fight against submission to? Or, do we allow ourselves the freedom to appease these cravings, which some might deem rapacious, and which may involve difficult decisions and hurtful or damaging consequences?
- London Christmas Lights 2014
- Stuffed Marrow Recipe