Love and marriage, French style

We’ve been bombarded lately by trailers for Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife, opening this Friday, which looks to be a good-enough romantic comedy. Imagine our surprise when we discovered it’s based on Eric Rohmer’s 1972 classic Chloe in the Afternoon, an intensely elegant, quintessentially French examination of desire and love and marital fidelity.

Frédéric, a Parisian businessman with a penchant for turtlenecks, is married to a beautiful woman. They have one baby and another on the way, and though Frédéric loves his wife, he’s grown restless with suburban domesticity. Enter Chloe, an old acquaintance with killer cheekbones, with whom he begins to spend flirty afternoons.

Beyond the movie’s intrinsic will-he-or-won’t-he suspense, Rohmer keeps you enraptured thanks to the movie’s third big star: Paris. The sunlit narrow streets, the smoke-filled cafes (yes, pretty much everyone chain-smoked in the early ’70s) — the city itself becomes part of the movie’s ultimate seduction.

“>VIEW the trailer for Chloe in the Afternoon

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Love and marriage, French style