There’s a lovely moment, right at the beginning of this romantic drama, where farmer’s daughter Delphine (Izïa Higelin) climbs off her tractor, grabs a handful of hay and appreciatively buries her nose in it. Later, she talks excitedly of the feel of the soil in the south of France compared to the waterlogged Limousin, where she was raised. It’s little character details like these that sharpen the edges of this 1970s-set love story between Delphine and Parisian teacher and feminist campaigner Carole (Cécile de France). And it’s Delphine’s deep connection with the countryside that eventually forces her to make an impossible choice, between her love and the land.
Although it lacks the in-your-face intimacy of Blue Is the Warmest Colour, there is a sensuality here that is no less persuasive. Carole and Delphine luxuriate in each other’s company. It’s a symbiotic relationship, which combines a sexual awakening for Carole and a political awakening for Delphine. Although the brisk narrative is less sprawling and unpredictable, the film shares something of the piercing sense of time and place of Olivier Assayas’s Something in the Air. Both films capture those precarious moments in which the balance of a life can change for ever on the strength of one fateful choice. The film’s main failing is the highly conventional and melodramatic score, which seems discordant with the rebellious spirits of the characters.