When Katie (Alexandra Lamy) meets Paco (Sergi Lopez) during a cigarette break at the cosmetics factory where they both work, her life is about a step shy of being in the dumps. The job is hard, she’s underpaid, and her husband walked out on her years ago — leaving Katie to pay the bills and look after their daughter. But Paco looks into her eyes and tells her quite frankly that she’s charming. He takes her to dinner and, sooner than they both expected, moves into her apartment. Katie’s daughter, Lisa (wonderfully and intelligently performed by Melusine Mayance), is more than a little miffed. Still, a new family life begins, albeit in awkward fits and starts.

So far, so ordinary: But when the story is from French filmmaker extraordinaire Francois Ozon, normality can’t be the norm for very long. Ozon is an auteur known for throwing curve balls out of left field — his specialty is a meticulously timed outrageousness that defies any particular style. Ozon strives for strangeness the way Woody Allen strives for laughs: In his films events unfold in curiously skewed or lopsided fashion; the structures are anything but linear; and his characters often say and do twisted, inexplicable things.

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