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Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Heartbreaker, Welcome

Notable romantic French titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker (2010)

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Cast: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, Fran├žois Damiens, Helena Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jacques Frantz, Amandine Dewasmes

Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) and Vanessa Paradis (The Girl on the Bridge) star in director Pascal Chaumeil's feature directorial debut. Alex (Duris), an indebted con artist who breaks couples up for a living, is hired by a rich entrepreneur to prevent his daughter Juliette (Paradis) from marrying her fiance. The expert heartbreaker then struggles through the hardest challenge of his career, as he slowly realizes that he has already fallen in love with his subject. Not just your regular chick-flick, Heartbreaker features an original story and compelling performances from the leads. Duris' gentlemanly mojo perfectly complements Paradis' independent spirit. The scenes are also cleverly written and shot, with stylish lines and catchy sequencing. But most exceptionally, Heartbreaker isn't showered with generous amounts of cliché and cheesiness. That's like lifetime achievement for a rom-com. In French with English subtitles. HD Available.

Welcome
Welcome

Welcome (2009)

Directed by Philippe Lioret

Cast: Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana, Derya Ayverdi, Thierry Godard, Selim Akgul, Firat Celik, Murat Subasi

Writer-director Philippe Lioret directs this bold and painful tale about true love and social injustice in post-9/11 France. Kurdish refugee Bilal (Firat Ayverdi) finds himself in Calais after being arrested at the French border while on a perilous journey to England to follow the love of his life. He then meets swimming coach Simon (Vincent Lindon) and tells him his outrageous plan of swimming through the English Channel to get to the country. Simon agrees to train Bilal, and in turn encounters a lot of political trouble. Lioret's masterpiece, Welcome is both a tragic love story and a heartbreaking epic against discrimination. Perseverance and fear reflect in the leads' portrayals and deepen the film's emotional impact. The not-so-elaborate script, the minimal sound effects and the intricate editing, when combined, deliver a beautifully haunting feel. And Lioret's direction is pure perfection. He transformed what could have been a depressing societal exposition into a cathartic call for action. In French with English subtitles. HD Available.