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Review: Nobody Else But You

'You will watch this film with a baffled smirk on your face. At least I did.'

 

The original French title of this film was Poupoupidou. Kinda wished they had kept that.

I hate to use the word “quirky,” as it is overused in film criticism. I prefer the word “peculiar.” Gérald Hustache-Mathieu's Nobody Else But You is a sweet and, yes, peculiar little crime drama that banks on odd coincidences and ever-so-slightly-outlandish characters to tell a noir-ish tale that bears pleasant-if-distant resemblance to elements of Twin Peaks and The Coen Bros. when they're feeling more playful. Would it be weird to describe a film as “creamy?” Nobody Else But You is a creamy crime drama. You may interpret that how you will. It's loaded with little peculiar yuks and oddball plot elements, all tying itself together with a grand pop-culture parallel to the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe. You will watch this film with a baffled smirk on your face. At least I did.

A best-selling crime author named David Rousseau (Jean-Paul Rouve) is suffering from writer's block, and is in such a state that he is considering changing his penname. For inspiration, he has elected to visit a remote area of France just next to the Swiss border called Mouthe, which is known for its cheeses (but then, which part of France isn't?). In this town, it is always snowy, and there are few locals. David is drawn there by the recent death of a woman named Candice Lecoeur (Sophie Quinton), a local legend of sorts, who made a name for herself modeling in the nude, and becoming the mascot of a local cheese product. Candice was also the weather-girl for the local news station. David's interest in Candice soon grows from a story idea into a legitimate investigation of his own, wherein he discovers that her life bears many uncanny parallels to Marilyn Monroe's; they both had a similar discovery, they both married abusive athletes, they both had brief affairs with playwrights, they both were addicted to pills, and they were both embroiled in a sex scandal with a politician. One was JFK, this time it's JFB.

Indeed, the parallels become so uncanny that there's even talk of reincarnation, and David begins to intuit the next detail in his case by researching Marilyn. The legend of Marilyn Monroe seems to have permeated the world to such a profound degree that all local starlets, regardless of time or place, are now doomed to repeat her haunted story to the tiniest detail. And while that sounds like it could be either too eerie or too twee, Nobody Else But You feels more like a playful lark on the idea, and is enjoyably incredulous in the face of its own wild coincidences. It seems to infer, by extension from its own plot, another speculation about Marilyn's own death.

It helps that the film is loaded with little fun details. David, it is established, has super-sensitive hearing, and loves the way his boots sound in the snow. Nothing comes of this revelation, other than a really strange, almost Twin Peaks-level scene of David crunching around for a bit in front of an impatient cop. David is much beloved by a hot Goth girl (Clara Ponsot) who works at his barely-functional hotel, and having a character as hot as she is prowling through what amounts to be a leaky B&B is a juxtaposition to keep one cheerily off-balance. The film also gives us a rather progressive character in the form of Bruno (the insanely sexy Guillaume Gouix) who seems to be the only efficient cop on the force, and who is only incidentally gay. Most gay characters in films like this must have their sexuality bent into a plot point. This guy is gay, and no matter. How nice.

The film is not perfect. It does drag in a few places, the solution to the mystery can be predicted, and if you're already intimately familiar with the death of Marilyn Monroe, Nobody Else But You may often feel like it’s flogging a long-dead actress. If you're of the right disposition, however, you may find yourself grooving with the creamy peculiarity.