Director: Jérôme Bonnell
Cast: Emmanuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne
Running Time: 104 minutes
Release Date: December 6th
If one were to take the most poisonously sweet, syrupy, churned-out, cliché-ridden American romantic comedy and put it on one end of a spectrum, on the opposite end would be the pretentious, humourless bogged-down ordeal that is Le Temps de l’Advennture, marketed in English-language territories with the hilariously appropriate Just a Sigh. 104 dreary minutes drag on with little to capture the viewer’s attention other than admittedly fine actors delivering embarrassingly maudlin dialogue. (“I knew you wouldn’t come with me…I could read it in your eyes…”) The film is sulky, aimless, ridiculous and painfully cheesy enough that it could have been written by an adolescent in the throes of manufactured pubescent woe.
The story sees suffering actress Alix wading through the obstacles of a bad day—she’s short on cash and her boyfriend won’t answer her calls—when her over-directed eyes fall upon a handsome middle-aged man (Gabriel Byrne) on his way to a funeral. She adventurously decides to follow him there, much to his shock and amusement and the two embark on an chronologically suspicious day-long affair (they manage to have two bedside romps before midday). The stolen lovers dump their various neuroses upon one another over the course of the affair-value-pack (including a daft twist near the end) and even ponder the logistical likelihood of Alix following her dreamy male companion (whose name goes unrevealed for most of the film) back home to England—another important thing to note is that the film never expressly divulges whether or not the obviously-Irish Gabriel Byrne is supposed to be an Irishman living in England, or just an Englishman.
The bleak setting of the story provides an uncomfortable, ill-advised amount of pregnant pauses, but the stars do their best to keep the proceedings interesting and to say that the action, for want of a better term, is never compelling is not quite true—the performances given by Emmannuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne are layered and impressive despite the horrendous dialogue with which the film provides them; perhaps they saw greatness in the script that ended up absent in the final product. As is often the case with such partnerships in film, Byrne seems a trifle too old and Devos a shade too young to be playing the characters they are; and yet the chemistry is more or less there—a shame there isn’t a better film to accommodate it.
Ultimately, the film is an exercise in lackadaisical navel-gazing and misery that’s compelling in places, but ultimately comparable to picking off a scab—you want to make it to the end just so that it’ll be over.