Quirky, breezy comedy with excellent performances by the 2 l
Doctor Trance | MA, United States | 03/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very fun French film, not to be taken too seriously, as evidenced by the slick editing and pacing of the film. It's very funny in certain scenes, and what clinched it for me was the performance of Eduardo Noriega as the likable Graham/Pablo, who can't seem to remember what happened 15 minutes prior, let alone the previous night's encounter. We don't learn why he has this condition until much later in the film.
His love interest in the film is the delightful Anna Mouglalis, who really clicks with Noriega's character. I last saw her in Claude Chabrol's Nightcap (Merci Le Pour Chocolat) and loved her in that film. The two bring great chemistry to the screen, despite Graham's lack of remembering their last liaison. She helps him try to overcome his forgetfulness in a number of different ways, including writing things on his body, and buying a two-way global tracking system, so they always know how to find each other.
There are some very odd aspects to the film, including a some weird events that take place with the female boss at his office, and his supposedly best friend, Fred. As the other reviewer stated, these scenes lend some confusion, to an already choppy pace of the film. The film's other drawback is the somewhat weak ending. While very pleased with the ultimate conclusion, I thought the scenes leading up to the end, where he finds a tooth, and what he does with that tooth when he meets a car full of drifters (two women and one man), was rather contrived.
An enjoyable comedy made memorable by the comedic proportions shaped by one's memory loss, and the sparkling chemistry between two people trying to overcome it."
To love you have to have a history
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jean Pierre Limosin has taken on a story interlacing memory, love, history, and passion that not only has pertinence in our galloping society of hasty encounters and transient relationships but also pleads a case for people with cognitive dysfunction. Unfortunately the film is marketed as a comedy and while there are some curious incidents that cause a bit of nervous laughter, this viewer sees the work as more of a difficult struggle for those affected by mental malfunctions that affect not only the patient but also those who surround him.
Graham/Pablo (the handsome and gifted Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega - 'Burnt Money', 'Abre los ojos', The Devil's Backbone', etc), though obviously bright and capable, works as a photocopy clerk for a large company, but suffers from memory loss, a deficit that prevents his remembering his wife Isabelle (Paz Vega) and son Antoine (Lény Bueno), his best friend Fred (Eric Caravaca), and his fellow coworkers. It also obscures his memory of flirtations and sexual encounters, including libidinous frequent seductions from his boss Sabine (Nathalie Richard). When a temporary worker Irene (Anna Mougalis) is hired Graham is told to show her the building and they end up on the roof in a passionate embrace - which of course Graham immediately forgets. But daily encounters with Irene gradually become so rich in passion that they somehow begin to register on Graham's tabula rasa mind condition!
Graham's means of survival lies in the notebook attached to his wrist in which he keeps a diary of all events to remind him of each day's events. This 'artificial memory/identity' provides information for Irene, for Fred, and for his doctors and each of them has reasons to use this diary to their own ends: Fred while supportive of his friend is actually in love with Isabelle, and Irene finds evidence of Graham's affection for her that suggests to her a method of helping Graham restore his memory - and in doing so, possibly win his permanent allegiance to her.
There are some bumpy portions of this film that create confusion at times, but in retrospect one wonders if this might have been the intention of the director - placing us as viewers into the mindset of short term memory loss to better understand Graham's plight! The cast is uniformly strong and Eduardo Noriega once again proves that he is completely capable of taking on a challenging role and finding the humanity within. Yes, there are some graphic sex scenes but they serve to intensify the flow of the story in view of the condition of Graham to whom every encounter has all the lust of a first encounter with an unknown lover! Recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
Like the First Time
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 10/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The box on the English release advertises "Novo" as a "sexy comedy." It is sexy. While it does have a light tone, it's not a film that provokes a great deal of laughter -- a few oohs and ahs, maybe. Jean Pierre Limosin who did a film called "Tokyo Eyes" directed this smart looking flirtation. Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega who has been in 20 films including "The Devil's Backbone" and "Warriors" is pleasant as Graham/Pablo, a man suffering from short-term memory loss. This results in him writing notes on the board at work to tell him what must be done and notes in a notebook to tell him where he lives and how to get home. Nathalie Richard who was in "Cache/Hidden" does a libidinous job as the office manager in pre-sexual-harassment France. She tapes over the office cameras in her office and asks Graham to take off his clothes. She then has some rather unusual sex with her office boy, all of which he will soon forget. A temporary worker at the office named Irene played by Anna Mouglalis who was in "Crime Novel" takes a shine to Graham. She takes him home and has wild sex that includes ice in private places. However, because Graham always forgets what they did, lovemaking is always like it was the first time for him. Trying to remember enough for both of them, she writes her name on his chest and notes on his bed that he slept with her, just as a reminder. Meanwhile, we learn from the clinic that Graham's real name is Pablo and that he has a wife named Isabelle, played by the lovely Spanish actress Paz Vega. Isabelle hopes Pablo will soon remember him and come home to her and their son. Meanwhile, she satisfies her physical desires with Pablo's best friend Fred, played by Eric Caravaca who directed the film "The Passenger." Fred was involved with Pablo's memory loss and perhaps out of guilt follows him to be sure he gets to work. There are interesting complications as Pablo answers the door and has no idea who Fred is; yet when Fred says that it's time to go, he willingly follows. Leny Bueno was 15 years old when he played Pablo's son Antoine in this 2002 movie. He does a great job as the boy that Pablo keeps running into and willingly clowns for as if Antoine were a stranger. Finally through a series of complications, Pablo is utterly lost. Antoine uses a GPS tracker that Irene put in Pablo's pocket to find him, nude on the beach. After an unusual nude daddy romp on the beach with his son, Pablo is taken back to the mental institution. With shards of his memory coming back, he knows he loves his son and chooses freedom. This film was presented at the Locarno International Film Festival that is on a lake between Italy and Switzerland. It's a pleasant little romp that makes one wonder what it would be like if you suddenly had no memories. The actors perform with a light & bubbly style as Limosin keeps the pace brisk and the picture lighthearted. Enjoy!"
I wish I had seen this movie sooner!
Dorian | North Carolina | 12/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll keep my review short & sweet since the other reviews here are so detailed :)
01. Eduardo Noriega is drop-dead gorgeous - especially in this film.
02. There is nudity and strong sexual content, so it's not a movie for kids or something you want to watch with your parents.
03. The story isn't really a comedy, but it's not depressing.
04. The only confusion that I really experienced during the film was one scene near the end when Pablo/Graham's boss encounters Irene. The scene was clipped and with no dialogue, but I felt like there might have been something integral there that I didn't get.
Despite that, I still loved this film very much and I plan on buying it ASAP! It's one of the most refreshing films I've seen in awhile and I'm surprised that no one really talks about it. Maybe it's been overshadowed by Memento, but the two films, while sharing the same short-term memory loss storyline, are completely different in my opinion."