For a romantic comedy to be a success, it requires the suspension of disbelief. Far-fetched endings resolving unlikely situations, are an absolute must for the genre. The relaxing of reality is what makes such films so appealing. In this regard, Pierre Salvadori’s new film, Priceless, is no exception.
The story hinges on two unlikely lovers: Jean (Gad Elmaleh) and Irene (Audrey Tautou). Jean is a hotel barman, working long hours to keep himself afloat, and France’s wealthy happy. Irene is a kept woman who has relationships with wealthy men to keep her well-stocked with diamonds, pearls, and housed in expensive hotels.
Irene and Jean meet in one such hotel; Irene as a guest and Jean as an employee. They have a brief fling as Irene mistakes Jean for a man of wealth. Irene’s sugar daddy finds out and ends the relationship, and more importantly, her means of financial security.
Irene, facing financial insolvency, leaves the now infatuated Jean, in search of a new source of income, once she discovers the contents of his wallet don’t fit the bill.
Priceless is a film that one can’t help but like. The gentle comedy glides the viewer along, and the lack of judgement towards the practices of both characters allows the audience to ignore their questionable morals. The film manages to portray a very appealing innocence that absolves the couple from any guilt.
The film not only allows the audience to ignore ethics, but it encourages it – sex is never a dirty word in Priceless.
Nice little metaphors regarding issues of class permeate throughout the film and it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into its production, although ultimately the film steers clear of any judgement. If anything, the film’s message is that morals, rather than being priceless, are worthless.
Much like the main character Jean, Priceless strives for something more than it is, but look beyond the attractive veneer and there isn’t much else going on.
Review by Kieran Westbrook