La Vie Apres L’Amour (2000)

“Calm down or I’ll Novocaine you.”

La Vie Apres L’Amour is a light-hearted comedy that centers on dentist Gilles Gervais (Michel Cote). The film begins with brief glimpses into his wedding and married life with Sophie (Sylvie Leonard), but the story really begins when Gilles arrives home on the evening of his twentieth wedding anniversary. With a bouquet of roses in hand, he discovers his wife smashing the place up. She claims that she’s driven by boredom, but Gilles soon realizes that there’s another man involved.

Sophie leaves, and Gilles can’t accept the fact that she’s never coming back. Desperate, he seeks help from a therapist who “favors therapy without medication.” But even though Gilles makes some small improvements in his life, for the most part, he can’t move forward, and consequently his life disintegrates and spirals out-of-control.

The film succeeds in some areas but not in others. The film’s strong, intense characterizations are wonderful, and ex-convict Sunsey (Patrick Huard) is particularly delightful. The scenes at Gilles’s dental practice are exquisite, and when Gilles takes out his frustrations on his patients, well you simply have to wince. The scenes at the dental practice are some of the best in the film, and the degeneration of the practice mirrors Gilles’s mental decline. The film is not, however, as funny as it might have been given the scenario. Some of the humor seems forced at times, but then again perhaps it’s just painful to laugh at the constant, sharp decline of another human being. In spite of this, however, the film had its engaging moments. In French with subtitles, La Vie Apres L’Amour is from Canadian director Gabriel Pelletier.

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