Bonjour! Welcome to the first of my “French Friday” post! I’ve always wanted to do this series so I made it one of my goals for 2017. I was inspired to start this series after talking with my Francophile friends about our love for everything French. Thanks to my friend Rebecca (with a magnifique blog called Every Day Parisian) who encouraged me to add some of my favorite French things to my blog.
Last winter, I took an introduction to French class at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago. To be honest, it was really hard. Not only did I find speaking French hard to learn, but also it’s harder to learn a new language when you’re 40 years old, especially not being able to dedicate the time to it that you should. I really think the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the language by living there. Overall, I had a great time laughing at myself butchering French words and phrases, meeting other Francophiles, and appreciating more of the French culture. I now know enough to start a conversation…well, to introduce myself and ask for help and the bathroom.
The French teacher told us that he learned to speak English by watching American TV. So he suggested that we watch some French movies (without subtitles) to try to figure out what was being said and pick up on some words and phrases we’d learn in class.
This was around the same time I signed up for the Amazon Prime membership…..which opened me to a whole new world of Amazon. It wasn’t just free shipping that I got with the membership…it was free movies (well, selected movies). So I searched for French movies on Amazon Prime and surprisingly there was a good selection to choose from. Somehow I picked French romantic comedies to watch.
I normally don’t watch romantic comedies but for some reason, the French do it so well. I got the humor and laughed out loud. The romance wasn’t sappy, it was relatable. At the time I watched these movies, they were all free on Amazon Prime. I think the free status changes with time. Oh…I cheated and watched these movies with subtitles. I’ll try watching them without subtitles soon. Maybe.
Here are three movies that I loved watching. I promise I won’t give away the whole story line..just what I liked about the movies.
I know, I know…before you say anything. I’ve never watched Amelie and it’s been out since 2001! I’m mad at myself for not watching it sooner. Audrey Tatou is the ultimate French girl in this movie. I loved her quirkiness and her wit as Amelie, who helped people around her in the most subtle ways. I loved watching the everyday life in the cafe that Amelie works in, the market that she visits, and her strolls through the streets of Paris. It’s a great story line with a wonderful message – even when we’re busy helping others, we still need help ourselves. And that’s okay.
This movie! OMG Romantics Anonymous was a surprise find for me! I’m so glad I found it because it is one of my favorite movies. I watched it twice in one night, once by myself and then with my husband. I look at the art of chocolate making so differently after watching this movie and appreciate the process so much more. The movie is not all about chocolate, though. I found it so relatable because the two main characters in the movie have what I call social anxiety disorder. I get nervous meeting new people so I could understand how it can be, although I’m not that extreme. I loved the quirkiness of the characters and was rooting for them to succeed in their social interactions with others and with each other.
I picked Priceless because the movie was set in the French Riviera, mainly in Nice, France. Nice ranks up there with one of my favorite cities in France. Here’s another movie starring Audrey Tatou. Are you starting to see a trend? I kinda really like her. Audrey plays a totally different character in this movie compared to the character in Amelie. In this movie, she plays a gold digger who lives off dating older wealthy men only to be pursued by someone her own age that she met on a drunken night at a hotel he worked at. The story line is a little confusing but her admirer goes to Nice get her heart back through a series of very funny antics. Nice was the perfect backdrop for this movie.
I also watch American movies set in Paris and/France – Midnight in Paris and Chocolate just in case you didn’t want a movie with subtitles.
I’m pretty sure there are plenty of other romantic comedies that I didn’t include but I would love to know which French romantic comedy is your favorites?