Villa Des Roses review

Paris, 1913. Two eccentric Brits (Harriet Walter and Timothy West) run a boarding house populated by a ragtag collection of European guests. The arrival of the new maid, young widow Louise (Julie Delpy), stiffens the, er, resolve of the men about the house, all of whom become determined to get to know her. Suave German playboy Richard Grünewald (Shaun Dingwall) scores first, only to have second thoughts when Louise falls pregnant and the prospect of the Great War draws ever closer...

An unconvincing attempt to splice oddball comedy with an epic weepie, Villa Des Roses has evidently been pruned to acceptable feature length, only to omit what presumably made the original novel - a Flemish classic, apparently - flourish. Delpy and the rest of the cast suffer nobly, but any drama disappears down gaping plot holes.

This Belgian-Dutch-British-Luxembourg co-production is a Eurosceptic's delight: multinational talent hot-housed in Brussels but sprouting something that refuses to bloom.

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