"3 Hearts" Will Make You Rethink International Relations Review

What's your name?

It sucks to miss a train. But for tax accountant Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde), one missed train back to Paris leads him to Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the pair quickly connect. The next morning, Marc and Sylvie agree to meet in Paris and they part without ever saying their names--très romantique! Of course, events transpire such that Marc misses their appointment and Sylvie goes off to the wintry wilds of Minneapolis with a boyfriend she isn't that keen on. When Marc takes the train back to where he met Sylvie, he comes across Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni) who is freaking out over a little tax problem with the antique shop she runs with her sister. Marc, no stranger to quick connections, falls in with Sophie and the two get engaged. Surprise, no surprise, Sylvie is Sophie's sister and an emotional fuse is lit until Sylvie's arrival finally blows everything to pieces.

3 Hearts (2014) forces the audience to predict the preordained mess in the first twenty minutes of the film and then sit in it for the next thirty minutes and then get slowly crushed in the French passion for the remainder. What makes it interesting is that Marc acts almost as though he knows what's what as much as we do. The fact that he somehow misses every opportunity to see Sylvie during Skype chats or in family photos looks intentional on his part. In this way, director-writer Benoît Jacquot (co-written with Julien Boivent) avoids the trap of making 3 Hearts about the "twist" so much as the choice (for those that have a choice). In an otherwise realistic, well-told story, things get a bit French towards the end with an utterly unnecessary voice over and strange changes of mind. Still, the film was quite beautiful to look at and thought-provoking in any number of ways.

3 Hearts speaks to a fear of mine. It wasn't until about two years ago that I understood the phrase "fear of commitment". Being a monogamist and a bit of a romantic, I never felt the fear of being with only one person. That was a perk, not a punishment. Then I left school and making a connection with someone became much harder to come by. So, when you're with someone and you think "They're alright, we get along, but is it forever?" You don't know if someone better suited for you is right around the corner. Thus monogamy, especially in the beginning of a relationship, instantly gives birth to guilt because you might have to break that promise. Critics like to complain that the United States hasn't signed up to a few large-issue treaties. Defenders say that the United States doesn't sign those treaties precisely because they believe in the power of treaties. I sympathize with the United States.

Bonus features

A "Director's Talk" interview with Jacquot and a trailer.

"3 Hearts" is on sale July 28, 2015 and is rated PG13. Drama. Directed by Benoit Jacquot. Written by Benoît Jacquot, Julien Boivent. Starring Benoit Poelvoorde, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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