Julie (Sagnier) and Ismaël (Garrel) form a young and beautiful couple. Ismaël is also attracted to his colleague Alice (Hesme), they resolve this attraction by forming a ménage-à-trois. At first, it is a happy arrangement (albeit not without tensions) until one day...
The movie explores gracefully the turmoils of love and grief. It was noted for its pleasing soundtrack, its very Parisian setting and characters and its references to Jacques Demy's films.
This film provides examples of:
- Bi the Way: Julie, Clotilde and Ismaël. While polyamory is discussed during the course of the film, bisexuality is not and is depicted as unproblematic.
- Brooding boy Gentle Boy: Brooding Ismaël still deeply affected by Julie's death and the sweet Erwann.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Subverted. The death of Julie could have solved the love triangle between her, Alice and Ismaël, but instead Alice and Ismaël go their separate ways.
- Descended Creator: Julie and Ismaël attend a concert of Alex Beaupin, the soundtrack composer.
- Final Love Duet: The song J'ai cru entendre... (I thought I heard...) for Ismaël and Erwann
- Gay Paree: Played straight: Scenic streets of trendy Paris? Check. Young handsome fashionable Parisians? Check. Complicated love/sex stories? Check. But also averted in that the movie avoids the most touristic parts of Paris.
- Grief Song: Les Yeux au ciel (The eyes to the sky)
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: while their respective personalities don't fall neatly in this trope, Julie and Alice visually qualify.
- Onscreen Chapter Titles: the story is divided in three chapters: The Departure, The Absence and The Return.
- Polyamory: Julie and Ismaël resolve Ismaël's attraction to his coworker Alice by forming a ménage à trois which doesn't survive the first act: when Julie dies, Alice and Ismaël go their separate ways.
- Quarreling Song: Je n'aime que toi (I only love you): Julie and Ismaël quarrel about their commitment to each other and Alice tries to bring them back together.Alice: Je suis le pont sur la rivière//Qui va de toi à toi... (I am the bridge on the river that goes from you to you...)
- Regional Stereotypes: Erwann in his song J'ai cru entendreErwann : Je suis beau, jeune, et breton, je sens la pluie, l'océan et les crêpes au citron (I am handsome, young and Breton. I smell like the rain, the ocean and lemon crepes).
- Shout-Out: To the musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, as both films have the same Onscreen Chapter Titles; furthermore the casting of Chiara Mastroianni as Julie's sister was also seen as an hommage to her mother Catherine Deneuve who played in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Dark-haired suave Ismaël sure qualifies and no less than three persons fall in love with him during the movie.
- Triang Relations: Type 8 between Alice, Ismaël and Julie.