Elise Lafontaine has had a secret routine for years: every morning and every night she waves at the express train passing by her house. When, one fateful day, she finds a letter from the train driver, her lonely life turns upside down.
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There's this particular, quirky, usually-French style of live-action films that could just as easily be animated... Kooky older lady takes her bird, cage and all, with her on her bicycle rides? Engages in some eccentric daily routine, without which she'd fall apart? Acts curmudgeonly when faced with change, but can be coaxed into sweetness? This is that. But with pitch-perfect execution. Also a true story?! Adorable.
While La Femme et le TGV goes on a bit too long (thirty minutes) for what little it is, it's a pleasantly sweet diversion about one unique diversion. It's a short largely about the things that we do that bring us joy, all while struggling to articulate to others, and maybe even ourselves, why they bring us joy in the first place.
Too precious and cutesy by half. The heart of it just manages to beat under the too thick fondue dunk of Amelie "style"—the sentimental, deracinated "style-y-ness" of a pretend Gallic world. Saved by Jane Birken, who gives it subconscious life, meaning, heft, and grit. A huge accomplishment given the nougat avalanche she had to surf.