My husband and I are two of the few people who found Amelie really annoying (I’m not a huge fan of whimsy). However, Dirty Pretty Things kicks ass and I watched Un long dimanche de fiançailles/A Very Long Engagement last night and found it really beautiful, moving. So, I’m two for three in liking movies which star Audrey Tautou.

The premise of A Very Long Engagement is that Mathilde (Tatou)–an orphan who is lame due to childhood polio–is searching for her fiancée, Manech (played by the wide-eyed Gaspard Ulliel), who was lost during WWI.

The circumstances leading to Manech’s disappearance are glum. He was a soldier condemned to death because of self-mutiliation (he intentionally let his hand be shot so that he might go home). Along with four other soldiers are with the similar stigmata of the hand wound, Manech is led through gloomy trenches of the Somme to “no man’s land” (the space outside of the trenches between the French and the Germans).

Mathilde believes that Manech is not dead–although she is continuously told otherwise–and, endearingly, she makes bets with herself (in the oh-so-familiar-to-me OCD way) that if such-and-such happens Manech will come back alive or Manech is not dead. She never gives up hope and uses her inheritance to hire a private investigator to help her find him.

There are several interesting subplots weaving through this mysterious, beautiful tale but none is more satisfying than the final outcome.

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