How Much Do You Love Me? Bertrand Blier

Love has always been one of life’s greatest puzzles, one that will continue to raise innumerable questions in the centuries to come. How can one truly express their love for someone else and have there not be at least some doubts now and again from the other? Francois (Bernard Campan) has just won the lottery and wants to literally buy Daniela (Monica Bellucci), one of the town's prostitutes, for sex and companionship until he runs out of money. Of course she accepts the offer with the thought of riches ahead but then a bond begins to develop and it appears that true love might actually be in bloom — but how can Francois be so sure that Daniela isn't just out for the cash? Francois has a weak heart that his friend (a doctor) is concerned about, especially with an absolute jaw-dropper like Monica Belluci giving him an intense workout. He says that Francois simply can’t handle a woman of that calibre and that Daniela will eventually kill him — something that may or may not interest the possible widow. Francois is so blinded by what he believes is true love that he doesn't know which road he’s being led down (and neither do we) but he’s willing to risk a (literally) broken heart for this woman. How Much Do You Love Me? takes an extreme situation that is, when broken down, just like any other questionable romance between two people. The plot of the film is essentially trying to figure out exactly how much the other person cares about you and what their intentions are, especially for Francois, who has to try to convert a whore into a wife. This romantic comedy has some touching and often funny moments, as writer and director Bertrand Blier raises questions that people ask each another, either to their partner or friends, about where someone’s head is at during a new relationship. Taking the male perspective, the film is overly generous to Belluci's body and a lot of the lines are clearly from a man's point-of-view, though it’s a female neighbour who appears to see this relationship for what it truly is. Moods are sometimes brought into light through over-the-top dialogue and overly French comedic insanity, and sometimes these sudden bursts of high-energy ruin the slow pace of Daniela and Francois' courtship, but the overall message and outcome of this sceptical romance is well worth a watch. (Warner)