The Nature of Love (‘Simple Comme Sylvain’)

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 51min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Francis-William Rhéaume, Pierre-Yves Cardinal

Lights fantastic: Lépine-Blondeau and Cardinal

Sophia (Lépine-Blondeau), Xavier (Rhéaume) and Sylvain (Cardinal) are a Lady Chatterley love triangle. She is a 40-year-old French-Canadian philosophy professor in a passionless 10-year relationship with similarly cerebral Xavier. Sylvain is a bearded, no-BS woodsman hired by the bougie duo to spruce up their lakeside chalet. Tout de suite, Sylvain is sprucing up Sophia’s love-life, which is the first and the last thing this particular lady needs. Not that she’s inclined to overthink: the life of the mind is all very fine but hot and heavy is hard to resist, even (especially?) when it’s forbidden fruit. 


Hunky Sylvain is shaping up as the sexiest ride of Sophia’s bookish life — not that its sexy bar could be any lower. Writer-director Monia Chokri sets the timer to mostly blithe and bouncy, until Sophia breaks the news of her steamy affair to a stunned and crushed Xavier. “You can’t do this to us,” he tearfully protests, even though she manifestly can and is.


The catch for Sophia is that a long haul with a rustic lust object can narrow to a lonely road when its novelty wears off. Chokri is well aware of the contradictions of attraction, and of the bitter truth that while all love — be it romantic, platonic, familial or carnal — is a minefield of compromise, marriages of chalk and cheese are the flimsiest bond of all.