Romantics Anonymous, as you can probably guess from its title, is a gentle romantic comedy, directed and co-written by Jean-Pierre Ameris. Its French title is Les Ã‰motifs Anonynmes, after a group that the protagonist, AngÃ©lique Delange, attends every week. It translates to something like ˜Emotionals Anonymous’ “ a support group, akin to Alcoholics Anonymous, for people who have difficulty with, well, emotions. AngÃ©lique’s problem is that she gets incredibly nervous when she’s the focus of attention “ when she introduces herself to the group, she promptly faints.
When not fainting in her support group, AngÃ©lique is a chocolatier, and early in the film she apprehensively attends an interview for a new job. She’s interviewed by Jean-RenÃ© “ the boss of the chocolate factory. She’s warned that he’s brusque and mean, but, you may be shocked to learn, he’s just incredibly shy too. And while he’s far too nervous to say it, he quickly takes a shine to AngÃ©lique.
So he’s crippingly shy, she’s cripplingly shy, he owns a chocolate factory on the verge of bankruptcy, she’s secretly a chocolate making genius. Stop me if you can guess where this is going. The film packs in just about every clichÃ© of the romantic comedy genre you can possibly imagine “ from AngÃ©lique’s support group to Jean-RenÃ©’s sessions with his psychologist “ from the horrendously awkward first date to the predictably happy ending (sorry if that’s a spoiler, but you can guess there’s going to be a happy ending from the opening credits).
But these clichÃ©s hardly seem to matter “ Romantics Anonymous is handled with such a light touch and sense of fun that it’s easy to put these things to one side and just enjoy it. The scene where the two go on their first date is an absurd delight as Jean-RenÃ© runs to the bathroom every couple of minutes to change his sweat-drenched shirt.