1997’s Titanic was hardly the first movie to set a sweeping romance against the backdrop of a major historical event, but the blockbuster success it achieved means it has left a much larger mark on global culture than most of its peers, which in turn has led to countless imitators of varying quality. Add to the list the French film Eiffel, which uses the erection of the titular tower as the setting for its love story.
Alternating between the years 1860 and 1886, the film follows famed engineer Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) as he is first making a name for himself and falls in love with a young Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey), the daughter of a powerful businessman in the earlier period, and then when he is tasked with building a spectacular monument for the upcoming World’s Fair in its latter portions. One of his biggest advocates for the job is journalist Antoine de Restac (Pierre Deladonchamps), who turns out to be married to Adrienne, whom he hadn’t seen in decades, thus setting in motion the requisite love triangle.
Those looking for a film about the herculean efforts required to build the Eiffel Tower will be mostly disappointed. Whenever that is the focus of the film it truly comes to life, but unfortunately the majority of the run time is given over to the somewhat perfunctory romantic plotline. The attractive cast do their best, but the hurried and somewhat random nature of their story don’t allow them the time or opportunity to build up much chemistry, making it challenging to become invested in the outcome. Luckily everything is gorgeous to look at and the movie largely avoids becoming boring, but every time we get a scene involving the various machinations required to get the tower built we are reminded of the much better movie this could have been. ★★★
rated r for some sexuality / nudity.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor