Since I spent most of this film drooling and sighing over the incredible costumes, this review will be short and sweet. The story is relatively simple. A young Audrey Hepburn type in the form of Rose Pamphyle (played by Deborah Francois) lives in rural Normandy with her sister and father in a small general store which has a new typewriter on display in the window. Rose waits until her Father and sister have gone to bed before trying it out for herself and over the coming weeks, teaches herself to type.
Fast forward a few months later. A Don Draper type, Romain Duris is trying, unsuccessfully to appoint a new secretary at his insurance offices in Paris. A gaggle of hopeful wannabes gathers, including Rose, who is scorned for her country style and demure ways. Duris, as Echard, begins to interview the hopefuls and during a call, discovers the Rose has a rather noisy talent for typing. Strangely enough, he hires her and invites her to work with him as a project to turn her into a typing champion. (My Fair Typist, perhaps?)
Rose agrees and moves into Chez Louis where she gradually falls in love with him. After failing at the first regional trial for typing incorrectly, Echard sets her to work with a new typewriter and teaches her to type properly. Rose paints her nails to match the keyboard and shortly after a rather awkward confrontation with Louis, she enters the regional trials again, succeeds and makes it to the National Championships, where the former champion, a fiancee of the heir to the Japy dynasty is forced to admit defeat.
"Don't mess with me!"
Rose strides to fame as the face of Japy typewriters with the aptly named Populaire model taking centre stage.
"I love my typewriter. Really, I do!"
Louis watches on helplessly as she learns independence and refuses her love when she declares it openly. Hurt and rejected, Rose retreats to New York to compete in the World Championships where she claims victory over her American opponent, Susan Hunter. Echard rushes up on stage and the credits roll as they share a sweet kiss and bow in front of the audience.
Populaire is truly a wonderful film, and I'd recommend any vintage fan to see it!
Now please excuse me whilst I go to source a pink typewriter...