Colin (Romain Duris) has enough money to live comfortably in his quirky home made out of train carriages and wonderful inventions; there is only one thing missing, love. When Colin and Chloé (Audrey Tautou) at the birthday party for a dog, they fall head over heels in love, with their happiness is interrupted when Chloé contracts a mysterious disease that causes flowers to grow in her lungs.
Boris Vain’s novel L’Écume des Jours has been adapted into an opera and twice for the big screen since it’s publication in 1947. Michel Gondry has created a completely Gondry-esque world from Vain’s work, the details and little quirks adding both humour and intrigue to the story.
Romain Duris embodies the romantic soul of Colin, and he has a twinkle in his eye that is charming and energetic. Audrey Tautou is great, as usual, as the object of Colin’s affections, and the woman who challenges him both mentally and physically. Omar Sy has a great little role as Nicolas; Colin’s chef, confidant and dance teacher and Sacha Bourdo gives a quirky but charming performance as Colin’s pet mouse.
At the heart of it, Mood Indigo is a story about falling in love, and nursing the love of your life through a terminal illness. Gondry’s film, beneath all the quirks, charm and whimsy, is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, the impact this has on the person doing the caring, and the horror of being the person left behind. There is also a tale of addiction and poverty mixed into the story, but the setting of the film serves to soften some of the blows, and heighten others; after they marry, Chloé and Colin float/swim out of the church, but as Chloé’s illness takes hold, their home begins to decay and crumble around them. In this way, Gondryseems to imagine that emotions look like, and portrayed them on screen.
There is charm, not only in the relationships between the characters – which feel earnest and real, despite the oddity of the film’s setting – but in this heightened world, which often feels like a child’s imagining of life, where pianos make cocktails, cars are transparent and dance styles defy gravity.
Mood Indigo is a film borne out of the mind of Michel Gondry. It’s quirky and fun with a dash of whimsy, in the first half, then quirky and sad, with a dash of whimsy in the second. Durais, Tautou and Sy are charming in this tale of love, addiction, pain and loss.