L’Amour ouf (Beating Hearts): Gilles Lellouche’s sweeping romantic fresco

BEATING HEARTS © Trésor Films - Studiocanal / crédit: Cédric Bertrand

Six years after the roaring success that was Sink or Swim (out of Competition, 2018), Gilles Lellouche dives into Competition avec L’Amour ouf (Beating Hearts), a musical rom-com that whisks Adèle Exarchopoulos and François Civil away on a heady, twenty-year romantic odyssey.

Jackie and Clotaire fall madly in love in their town in northern France. She’s kooky and nerdy where he’s a bit of a scoundrel, and although life puts their love to the test, nothing can keep them apart.

L’Amour ouf (Beating Hearts) is the result of a long-standing vision Gilles Lellouche had nurtured ever since reading the eponymous novel by Neville Thompson, gifted to him by Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde. The pair set about drafting the film, eventually putting it to the side to focus on Sink or Swim.

Gilles Lellouche got back to writing the screenplay with his co-screenwriter on Sink or Swim Ahmed Hamidi, and Audrey Diwan (The Event, Just the Two of Us, The Stronghold), with a view to bringing to life an incredible romantic teen movie-cum-musical with hints of Scorsese and West Side Story.

The romance begins in the 1980s and unfolds over two decades, buoyed by a glittering French cast: young Jackie and Clotaire are brought to life by Mallory Wanecque (seen in The Worst Ones by Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret) and Malik Frikah (Apaches by Thierry de Peretti), and played in their older versions by François Civil and Adèle Exarchopoulos, with the latter noting that “it was the first time a script has made me want to love and be loved so hard”.

Christine and the Queens and Madonna dancers the La Horde collective handled the choreography, taking this musical to the next level with as much flair as they did in 2020’s mind-blowing Room With a View.