“Eiffel” is as much a history lesson as “Titanic” – in other words, it’s not really one. It’s more historical fiction, with the real-life 19th-century figure Gustave Eiffel, the man responsible for the mastermind behind France’s most iconic monument, depicted first as a passionate lover and then as an engineer.
Gustave, played by Romain Duris, faces naysayers, workers on strike and financial setbacks as he takes on the grand effort to build the Eiffel Tower. Director Martin Bourboulon occasionally takes us to the construction site, where men toil, the metal construction gets higher and higher and Gustave frowns at architectural blueprints.
But the main intrigue concerns his romance with Adrienne (Emma Mackey), a married woman with whom he shares an emotional past. Flashbacks from both Gustave and Adrienne’s perspectives show the star-crossed lovers 20 years back, indulging in their carnal desires against the backdrop of a fireplace and Parisian sunsets before Adrienne’s disapproving parents intervene. and commitment.
The shrug of disdain for historical context would be negligible if the romance weren’t so tedious and clichéd. The tower was originally seen as a reckless undertaking, provoking national debates and class tensions. But these powers are only vaguely touched upon – a shame given the dramatic potential of that story compared to the mundane love story whipped up here instead. And you can’t help but wonder if “Eiffel” is just a bland fantasy or a particularly flimsy form of myth-making, reducing a country’s politically charged event to the equivalent of an Eiffel Tower key ring with a inscription that says “city of love.”
Rated R for sex scenes, brief nudity and a suicide attempt. Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes. In theatres.