“Mind you, you’ve always gone for the nutters.”
When the skeletal remains of a baby are found in the cellar of a large French house, Police Lieutenant Deveure (Vincent Winterhalter) is called in to investigate. Newlyweds Patrick (Frederic Gorny) and Blandine (Audrey Tautou) moved in about 3 months previously, so the secret of the baby’s death lies in the house’s past. Blandine, clearly a disturbed young woman begins to unravel as Deveure continues to investigate.
Baby Blues directed by Paule Zajderman has that off-beat feel of Claude Chabrol mysteries, and this slightly off-kilter atmosphere is enhanced by Tautou’s role of Blandine. Childlike, and vulnerable, she appeals to some element of Deveure’s character, but then she is just one of two female characters involved in the case who profess attraction to Deveure. With nurse Veronique Troney (Brigitte Rouan) also expressing interest in Deveure, he could be in a position of juggling women, but Deveure has a steady girlfriend–Louisa (Laura de Sol), and he’s avoiding any commitments as he’s obsessed with thoughts of revenge against the criminal who left him crippled.
Baby Blues–a French television film–was made a few years before Tautou’s role in Amelie, and her fans will enjoy seeing her in this film playing a disturbed, fragile and emotionally vulnerable teenager. In addition to Tautou, Deveure’s character adds to the film’s plot–an interesting detective is a necessary element to any police story, and Deveure is certainly not stereotypical. He wears a leg brace and uses a cane, and this physical impediment is noted–usually with spite–by all he comes across. Fellow police officers, suspects, and witnesses note his limp, make some nasty comments, and then draw the inference that Deveure’s limp is somehow a reflection of his professional abilities. Coworkers and suspects alike continue to underestimate him, but he soon uncovers a nest of vice and corruption that threatens to blow the cover off the sleepy little town of Saint-Paray. Baby Blues is a decent little mystery in French with subtitles.