Set in the 1950s, when the typewriter revolutionized the meaning of the modern woman, “Le Populaire” follows the comic turn of events that lead a clumsy, small-town girl to compete for the title of fastest typist. Thanks to its charming tribute to the ’50s – everything from flouncy dresses to TV commercials is delightfully pink – it is not bogged down by feminist implications.
The story is relevant to any era: It simply illustrates the joys of perfecting a task, which is too easily dismissed as trivial.
Like the rigorous training that the secretary in the movie undergoes, the movie is rigorous in its loyalty to the ’50s. Its careful choice of waltz-jazz songs, ballet-inspired gestures and cute dialogue are references to the great films of the era. Despite not having any musical numbers, the movie floats with the same levity as the classic musical “Singing in the Rain” – only instead of tap shoes and dancing feet, “Le Populaire” indulges in the sound of type keys and shows off dancing hands.
Orchestrated as tightly as a staged dance, with every minimal gesture planned out with the mission to charm in mind, “Le Populaire” is difficult not to fall for immediately from the opening scene.