A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
The characters in "Shall We Kiss?" are attractive, wear impeccable clothes, move easily through minimalist rooms, hotel lobbies, social gatherings, restaurants and their lives. The soundtrack is by Schubert and Tchaikovsky. There are discreet paintings on the walls and drawings of composers. They are French, articulate, composed and dumber than a box of rocks.
That is the only way I can account for their behavior, and since their behavior is the subject of the film, that must be counted as a flaw. They approach the subjects of sex and romance with a naivete so staggering, it must be an embarrassment in the greater world. Inside their hermetically sealed complacency, I suppose it's a little exciting.
Gabriel and Emilie are strangers when they have a chance encounter in Nantes. Their eyes meet, there is a connection, they have dinner, and when Gabriel moves as if to kiss Emilie, she seems willing, but then pulls back. She is afraid to kiss. Why? She will tell him a story.
Flashbacks to the story involve most of the film, with occasional returns to Emilie (Julie Gayet) relating it to Gabriel (Michael Cohen) in her hotel room. It is about her friends Judith (Virginie Ledoyen) and Nicolas (Emmanuel Mouret, the film's director). They have been best friends since childhood. Judith is happily married. Nicolas has just broken up with a lover of some duration. He is unhappy, because he believes he is incapable of fully entering into physical love.