I have to admit that I once turned off a Christophe Honoré film (Ma Mère) long before it ended, and I have been skeptical of his work ever since. But I do have a bit of a thing for musicals, especially those diverting from what we're used to, and I therefore went into the filmmaker's latest, an unconventional musical titled Love Songs (literally translated from the French Les Chansons d'Amour), with modestly open arms. Plus, I realize that as a critic I need not see every film made by every director (I have not seen Dans Paris, Honoré's film between Ma Mère and Love Songs, for instance), but I need to at least give some well-regarded filmmakers a second chance.
Unfortunately, Love Songs didn't really do it for me, either. As I said, it is a musical, and not in the big and lavish Hollywood sense. Yet not really in the all-singing sense of Jacques Demy's films, either, despite the many comparisons being made between Love Songs and Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Sure, Honoré's film features songs sung in a similarly recitative style, and yes, there is the referential connection of Love Songs co-starring Chiara Mastroianni and Cherbourg starring her mother, Catherine Deneuve. But the dialogue in Love Songs is primarily spoken non-musically, and the film would actually have worked, and been better off, in my opinion, if it didn't feature any of its 14 songs at all.