Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Sep 19, 2013
    75
    Populaire plays like a musical - you expect anyone, at any time, to break into song.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Sep 13, 2013
    75
    Populaire is a mostly delightful and entirely unironic throwback to the kind of film they stopped making about 50 years ago.
  3. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Sep 12, 2013
    75
    The joy is in the details - from the animated credits to the perky pop score to the pre-"Mad Man" hair, clothes and general sensibility.
  4. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Sep 12, 2013
    75
    Populaire has no interest in rewriting the rules of romantic comedy, but it does run through the expected paces with admirable style.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 6, 2013
    75
    Populaire takes an intrinsically boring activity — typing — and makes it unusually entertaining.
  6. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Mar 5, 2013
    75
    It’s not like “The Artist” was gritty, but Populaire is so cotton-candy breezy it makes the Best Picture-winner look like “The Panic in Needle Park.”
  7. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Sep 12, 2013
    70
    It’s aggressively charming, and competitions and training montages are filmed with kinetic whimsy. The film’s chief triumph is in spinning something remotely thrilling out of something as inherently dull as speed typing.
  8. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 5, 2013
    70
    The less seriously the genial French comedy Populaire takes itself, the more amusing it is. Fortunately, with small exceptions, this film doesn't take itself very seriously at all.
  9. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Apr 3, 2013
    70
    A colorful and impeccably styled romantic comedy that manages to turn the speed-typing competitions of the 1950s into entertaining cinematic fodder.
  10. Reviewed by: Kaleem Aftab
    Mar 5, 2013
    67
    The problem, as with most romantic comedies, is that there are no shocks in the story.
  11. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Sep 5, 2013
    65
    While Populaire would still have suffered from being overlong and overfamiliar, a smoother leading man could have done much to boost the intended Cary Grant vibe.
  12. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Sep 6, 2013
    63
    A solid, genially retro entertainment.
  13. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 5, 2013
    60
    The best scenes are the contests in which the competitors hammer away, executing the kind of grand flourishes with each return of the carriage that Liberace exhibited at the piano.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 5, 2013
    60
    This frisky late-’50s-set French comedy about a competitive typing contest hunts and pecks a bit for fun after its story gets rolling, but it’s visually vibrant throughout.
  15. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 3, 2013
    60
    If anything distinguishes director Régis Roinsard’s take on well-trod material, it’s his Technicolor-bright widescreen palette (recalling many a late-’50s pillow-talk romance without a hint of snooty irony) and energetically game cast.
  16. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    Aug 30, 2013
    60
    Offers plenty of easy nostalgia and Duris charm.
  17. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Aug 30, 2013
    60
    No prizes for guessing who ends up with whom, but the colourful retro designs and the leads’ sparkling chemistry help to Tipp-Ex over some of the predictability.
  18. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Aug 30, 2013
    60
    It's très chic and charming but a bit disappointing when you see where it's headed.
  19. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Sep 4, 2013
    58
    A candy-coated French throwback to the Hollywood rom-coms of the ’50s — especially the ones starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day — Populaire is old-fashioned in more than just its pastel color scheme.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Sep 12, 2013
    50
    Despite hard-working performances and the occasional sexual frisson from ingénue Déborah François (a kind of French Renée Zellweger) and seductive Romain Duris (who looks like Tom Hanks by way of Montgomery Clift), Populaire hits mostly wrong keys.
  21. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Sep 5, 2013
    50
    Populaire’s initial appeal comes largely from its airiness, and it simply doesn’t have the heft or gravity to tackle weightier emotions.
  22. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Sep 1, 2013
    50
    Candy-colored to a potentially cavity-causing degree, the film is a bubbly regurgitation of retrograde romantic comedy tropes and reactionary sexual politics.
  23. Reviewed by: Jon Frosch
    Sep 4, 2013
    40
    Writer-director Régis Roinsard's feature-length debut is visually sharp, with period design that's eye-catching without being fussy or fetishistic. Too bad there's not much going on beneath the surface.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Aug 30, 2013
    40
    You'll need to have a very sweet tooth for this, and it makes light of those difficult sexual politics that Mad Men attacked with such fierce satire.
  25. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Mar 5, 2013
    40
    For all the earnestness with which the filmmakers replicate the muted colors and attitudes of the post-war era, they ultimately fail to say anything truly interesting about either the past or the present, resulting in a work that feels as superficial as it does slick.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 10, 2013
    7
    Taking a page from other French films, Populaire is a whimsical yet adult French comedy with enough going on beneath the surface to make watching it unique despite its similarities to other French films, most notably 2011's Romantics Anonymous. Populaire tells the story of Rose (Deborah Francois), a young French woman who moves from her small village life to the hustle and bustle of the big city in 1959 to become a secretary, a job she finds difficult and to avoid getting fired she agrees to take part in a typing competition, something that may bring Rose and her boss Louis (Romain Duris) closer. While not as polished and delightful as Amelie or the aforementioned Romantics Anonymous, Populaire does charm you from beginning to end thanks to its three fantastic lead performances by Francois, Duris and Bernice Bejo as Louis old friend and ex lover. Most of the credit goes to Francois who manages to make her often childish character realistic and moving thanks to her ability to read the subtleties of a scene. She manages to be quirky and adult at the same time, an admirable feat. The scripting is clever as it incorporates the idea of a society still recovering from the devastation of the war almost 15 years on as well as the the desire to modernise, something we are still feeling today. The film uses the war to add colour to its characters, especially Louis who unlike the conventional war veteran has no fear of what he saw, just everything waiting for him back home, especially Marie (Bejo). It's a rose tinted film so it does turn a bit saccharine towards the end but it is to be expected from a French film about love, it has to end well. Full Review »
  2. Sep 6, 2013
    6
    A throwback to the Rock Hudson and Doris Day comedies of the 50's this is a light and frothy French concoction that washes over you. There is a good period feel, but the best parts are the actual typing competitions which are very entertainingly filmed with real zing. The camera movement for these sequences even manages to evoke mild tension. Sadly any other emotion is lacking from the rest of the film. It's also way too long! Full Review »