Cédric Klapisch’s Someone, Somewhere (officially Deux Moi; 2019) is an unconventional love story.
Utilising cuts to the beat of an electronic song, repetitive shots, and abstractions and overlays on the screen, the opening credits immediately thrust us into a fast-paced Parisian environment. Two characters – a man and a woman – are individually presented with similar shots of them sitting on the train; only to be shown that they are, in fact, neighbours.
The female – Mélanie – is shown in a research laboratory, before being told that she has been given the opportunity to present her findings to the board (and donors). Her hesitance in accepting is paralleled to a shot of the man (Rémy) awkwardly accepting a promotion for his menial job. The two end up next to one another in the same pharmacy, seeking medication for sleep issues. Their issues, however, are oppositional – Rémy finds sleeping difficult whereas Mélanie sleeps too much. This antithetical notion is perpetuated throughout the film, where both Rémy and Mélanie are ultimately heading towards the same destination yet take wildly different routes along the way. Both characters are shown talking to [different] psychiatrists; Rémy and his psychiatrist have a hard time developing a connection, compared to Mélanie and hers. We are then taken through a flashback for both characters. Firstly, Rémy is shown in an uncomfortable situation with an old friend from school, where he cannot recall any of the stories being discussed. For Mélanie on the other hand, we are shown a summary of her most recent relationship of a year. What started through a dating app and eventually progressed into a relationship, slowly deteriorated into distance and detachment between her and her partner.
It’s Christmas. We are introduced to Mélanie’s sister, Capucine, and learn that Mélanie is not very close with her family. Rémy spends Christmas with his parents and siblings’ families; breaking the news that he is seeing a psychiatrist for what he believes is some form of depression. After talking with his family, Rémy profoundly states “the air might not be as pure in Paris, but at least I can breathe.” By night, we see both characters back at home and standing on their balconies, yet to take note of one another.
Rémy is given a cat by his neighbour; yet loses it just as quickly as he received it. The cat is then found by Mélanie, who takes care of it herself. Soon after, Rémy is convinced by his psychiatrist that he is not bad luck, and to take his chance at calling one of his new co-workers. At his apartment, Rémy misconstrues the situation and attempts to make a move, resulting in her leaving.
The night before Mélanie’s big presentation, she ignores the psychiatrist’s advice that she is seeking more than a man off social media, and invites a guy over that she meets on an app. She finds herself incredibly drunk but is nursed by her sister, and so the presentation goes well.
Late one night, there is an emergency on their street, resulting in the death of a father. We are then taken back to Rémy and Mélanie’s discussions with their respective psychiatrists and learn why they were so distraught by this event. This leads to a reconciliation between the characters and their parents – Rémy, for his parents’ lack of acceptance over the fact that his sister died at a young age; and Mélanie, for her mother’s divorce and subsequent remarriage. Both Rémy and Mélanie were unable to move forward with life until they were able to forgive themselves and those around them.
And so, Rémy decides to attend the dance class that his local shopkeeper previously recommended to him. Mélanie – also there through the shopkeeper’s recommendation – is paired with Rémy, and the two share an intimate dance. Despite their close proximity and juxtaposing journeys, it was only through self-acceptance that the two were able to be brought together.
In essence, Someone, Somewhere effectively shows how oblivious we can be to something so close. These two complete strangers – neighbours – were dealing with extremely similar issues and seeking the same thing from their lives. All the while, they would regularly cross paths and yet never meet. There were many points in the film where I would be completely enthralled and at the edge of my seat, hoping the characters would finally pay attention to one another – it’s as if we can see the potential for chemistry that the characters cannot. With that said, there were elements that felt shoehorned into the film to bring about a character’s realisation (such as the woman Rémy works with). Yet, these characters, how they feel, and the narrative they each follow are relatable and not too dissimilar from what humans encounter at different points in their lives. 6.5/10.