Perfumes (2019) (Les parfums)

Charmingly fragrant, very French not-exactly romcom Perfumes by Grégory Magne stars Emmanuelle Devos and Grégory Montel as the autumnal odd-couple.

Driving Mademoiselle Anne

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Mademoiselle Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) is the imperious, uncharming perfume designer with a rare sense of smell – a professional ‘nose’. Guillaume Favre (Grégory Montel) is the driver for the elite taxi firm allocated to her.

She’s withdrawn, bossy, obsessed with her work and in denial about her loneliness. He’s an empathetic everyman struggling to get joint custody of his delightful 10-year-old daughter (Zelie Rixhon) after a divorce. She’s impossibly demanding. He needs to keep his job so he can afford to rent a big-enough apartment the judge will approve.

In typical romcom fashion, after initial antagonistic skirmishes, a friendship develops as each recognises something they need in the other. From that unlikely closeness come the insights that each needs to mend their lives. So it’s actually more than a romcom, it’s a well-acted life-changing-com. Although what it shows of its background in the perfume industry is fascinating, it’s not entirely accurate – it’s there to create the unmistakably French metaphors that pervade the film like a favourite scent. It’s an enjoyable, warm watch.

Perfumes is released in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema on 21 August 2020 in the UK.