Tautou as a widow losing, a woman loving

Delicacy is a small, bittersweet romance about getting over the loss of a loved one - if that's possible - and moving on. It stars Audrey Tautou, the impossibly cute actress of Amelie fame, still impossibly cute, though playing a sadder, less eccentric, and more grown-up French woman in David and Stéphane Foenkinos' film. Based on the novel by David, and adapted and directed by the two brothers, Delicacy has a light, playful edge, but there's wisdom about it, too.

It also offers a somewhat troubling glimpse at the culture of the French workplace (if the film is accurately representative, that is), with a boss who is married and who doesn't stop hitting on one of his employees. That would be Tautou's Nathalie, a top-notch manager, who, after her husband dies, applies herself to her work like nothing else matters. (And nothing does.)

And then, in a moment - some three years after her spouse, Francois (Pio Marmaï), died in a traffic accident - she just goes off and passionately kisses a colleague. A tall and kind of lumbering Swede, Markus (François Damiens) is understandably elated by this overture. (Although this, too, could be interpreted as sexual harassment in the workplace.)

For her part, Nathalie doesn't know what came over her, or why. But Markus is smitten. And so a strange, stop-and-start courtship begins, with meandering walks around nighttime Paris, with dinners and coffees and charming, soul-revealing chats.

Tautou, who looks even smaller and more fragile alongside her towering leading man, conveys the hurt and hesitancy that are pulling at her character's heart - and does so with seeming effortlessness. It's as though she knows this woman, deep down.

Contact Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at www.philly.com/onmovies.



Directed by Jason Mann. With David Mattia, Elizabeth Henstridge, Malcolm Tomlinson, Richard Morse. Distributed by Cohen Media Group.

Running time: 0 hours, 11 minutes.

Parent's guide: PG-13 (for some strong language).