If French movies have taught us anything, it's that love is a motherfucker. And if there's anything that the airplane genre of film has taught us, it's that being stuck in a tin can with someone for hours on end forces you to resolve your issues. In Alexandre Castagnetti's Love is in the Air (or Amour et Turbulences in French), both of these time-honored traditions come into play. Sensible yet artistic Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) encounters her ex-boyfriend, Antoine (Nicolas Bedos) on a plane from New York to Paris after three years of not seeing him. The result is an emotional, often comical portrait of the accepted chemical imbalance known as love.
Initially, we are introduced to Julie, who comes across as a forgetful, somewhat zany character. She rushes to get to the airport while also trying to read all the Post-It note reminders she left for herself before she departs. Castagnetti's fondness for split screens then becomes apparent as we see Antoine prepare for his own journey to Paris by waking up next to a stranger in his bedroom. Due to destiny and what have you, Julie ends up being upgraded to business class, coincidentally right next to the seat where Antoine will soon join her.
Both parties are shocked and silenced upon seeing one another, and both cope in different ways to deal with the issue--Antoine drinks, Julie sulks. After enough time passes, however, the two begin to feel comfortable with one another, even if they've both told lies about how well their lives are going (Julie claims to be selling more sculptures than she can keep up with and that she's pregnant, while Antoine claims he's in a committed relationship with an actress named Pearl). As the other passengers listen in on how their romance began--and then inevitably crashed and burned--it seems as though everyone has a vested interest in the outcome of Julie and Antoine's relationship. But with Julie slated to be married during the coming weekend, Antoine stands nary a chance.
Antoine's history as a philanderer is what simultaneously attracted and repelled Julie (he reminded her of her father). While her jealousy and paranoia about Antoine's faithfulness was one of their first hurdles to surmount, it was ultimately Antoine's stifling of her dream to go to an art school in Tokyo that stuck a nail in the coffin of their trust. When Antoine is the one to answer the phone and learn of Julie's grant to go to the school she had been dreaming of, he instinctively comes up with an absurd lie to deny her interest in attending. It's one of those strange reflexes that love inflicts upon you when you just want to keep the other person to yourself/not have to leave Paris for Tokyo.
Against all her better judgment, Julie makes the mistake of forgiving him for his egregious commandeering of her life path and goes to his apartment to tell him as much, only to find another woman hiding in the closet after she pours her heart out to him. But of course, there's more to the story than that, and Antoine must use all his powers of persuasion to get Julie to listen to him and convince her that they're still meant to be.
Like most rom-coms/French movies, Love is in the Air plays it by the book, with the standard obstacle in act two leaving you to question if the couple will end up together in act three. And yet, there is still something about Julie and Antoine's characters that actually makes you care if they will find their way back to each other again.