What I Watched: L’arnacoeur


L’arnacoeur (Original Title)

Year: 2010

Pascal Chaumeil, Director


Romain Duris (Alex)

Vanessa Paradis (Juliette)

Julie Ferrier (Mélanie)

François Damiens (Marc)

Andrew Lincoln (Jonathan)



Image is Film stills from 'Heartbreaker'. Quad Films and Script Associés. 2010.
Film stills from ‘Heartbreaker’. Quad Films and Script Associés. 2010.

Alex is a breakup hitman. He doesn’t physically harm people.  He harms relationships. Along with his plucky sister, Mélanie, and goofy brother-in-law, Marc, Alex is paid to charm and detach women from unhappy relationships.  The ultimate goal is to make these women realize they are actually paired with men who subconsciously make them miserable.  Hired by the friends and family of the doomed woman, Alex stages an ‘accidental’ interaction with clients, and proceeds to allure them with sappy poetry, a fictitious personal anecdote, or simply by running his beautiful hands through those gorgeous, lush locks, or by staring at his brown and heavenly eyes…

Err… um… excuse me.  Where was I? Right! Moving on…

Once Alex’s amorous spell is cast, the women all unfailingly realize that their current boyfriends are indeed louses, and the inevitable breakup ensues.  Alex stages an easy exit for himself, so the women do not become attached or believe they have a romantic future with him. He’s that good. Commence happily ever after!

This time around, Alex finds himself in a major pickle.  It’s the pickle to end all pickles. It’s a barrel of pickles. Owing a substantial amount of money to a dangerously seedy businessman, he accepts an impossible job without consulting the rest of his heart-breaker team.  Another powerful Mafioso offers Alex the lucrative task of stopping his daughter’s nuptials to a kind, but blasé, man.  The catch?  The breakup squad has to stop the wedding in a matter of days, which is an outrageous deadline. Facing the brinks of destitution, this is an offer Alex cannot afford to refuse.   With crossed fingers, he accepts the job, much to his team’s dismay.

Then there’s the blushing bride, Juliette.  She thinks she’s happy with her fiancé, Jonathan.  They’re in love. Trah-lah. Life is peachy keen.  However, her estranged crime boss father believes otherwise.  Although the two mostly parted ways since Juliette’s mother died, Juliette’s father still prioritizes her happiness.  He doesn’t believe Jonathan is a right match for her. Juliette rejects her father and his blatant, yet unspoken, sleazy lifestyle.  Therefore, when Juliette’s father recommends she keep Alex nearby as her ‘bodyguard’, Juliette adamantly protests and refuses.

Finally Alex and his crew stage a car-jacking during which Alex pretends to save Juliette.  The incident makes Juliette reconsider her initial refusal about having a body guard.  She is now convinced that her father’s enemies are following her, and she might need Alex for safety after all.

The chemistry thereafter becomes palpable.  The more Alex researches Juliette, the more he finds himself intrigued by and attracted to her.  Juliette also begins to feel the pull of Alex’s goofy and lovable demeanor.  She slowly starts to realize that a complacent life with the wealthy Jonathan might not be the future she desires after all.

Image is Romain Duris & Vanessa Paradis in 'Heartbreaker'. Quad Films and Script Associés. 2010.
Romain Duris & Vanessa Paradis in ‘Heartbreaker’. Quad Films and Script Associés. 2010.

This movie is not The Notebook.  It’s a sloppy and corny romantic comedy that left me thinking, “This could never possibly happen in reality.”  That being said, I loved every outlandish minute.  Perhaps this is because I have a Romain Duris bias, but Heartbreaker is an adorable flick.  My favorite scenes included the antics of Mélanie and Marc, who kept me chuckling with their quirky shenanigans. Also, the movie, Dirty Dancing, plays a huge part in Alex and Juliette’s love story.  I never generally admit this for fear of being driven into exile by my female millennial brethren, but Dirty Dancing is my least favorite movie of all time.  I’m a monster. I know this.  Believe me, I have tried to watch the classic romance on several occasions only to feel more bored and emotionally devoid after each viewing. Yes, I swear.  It’s the truth. That being said, I loved the role the story played in Heartbreaker.  To keep from spoiling, I will only say that I melted when Alex sings ‘Time of My Life’ with his French accent. Swoon.


While I think Populaire is still my favorite Romain Duris movie so far, I’m giving Heartbreaker three Eiffel Towers.  It was sweet, but it wasn’t life altering.  Also, I didn’t think Jonathan was as boring as he might have been portrayed.  I mean, isn’t he saving the world from the zombie apocalypse? Oh wait.  That’s something else.  At any rate, Heartbreaker a good flick to catch when you need some outrageous fluff. I recommend this movie with a good bottle of Rosé, baguette, and some Roquefort.

À la prochaine!