HOW FAR would you go for a dare? Taking a pee in front of a school headmaster or saying “no” on a wedding vow?

Love Me if You Dare (Jeux d’enfants) is story of game and love between Julien (Guillame Canet) and Sophie (Marion Cotillhard). As childhood sweethearts, they develop a “daring” game which involves a tin can with a carousel design from Julien’s dying mother. The deal: whoever possesses the small carousel can can dare the other; and if the other meets the dare, he/she can get even.

They start with childish dares like pulling the table cloth at a wedding reception and uttering vulgar words in grammar class. But as they grow up, the dares become more difficult and humiliating. Sophie is even asked to wear her underwear outside her clothes while taking her oral exam at the university. The dares escalate, from their not meeting for 10 years, to Julien being dared to run from the police. The dares, though utterly obscure and far-fetched most of the time, bring a “natural high” between the two characters.

Although the story avoids the subject of love, it still possesses some trends often seen in romantic movies or Latin telenovelas. The racial difference between the two (Julien is French while Sophie is Polish) highlights the rich-boy-poor-girl element (Sophie lives in a struggling cheap apartment complex while Julien lives in a suburban environment). In addition, Julien’s father does not accept Sophie to the extent that he even pays Sophie to get out of Julien’s life.

The protagonists’ obscene obsession for the game hints at what they actually feel for one another. At one point, the two eventually share an intimate moment as Sophie dares Julien to kiss her on top of a car. But as they continue, Sophie gives a dinstinctive line: “This is all just a game to you.”

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Directed by Yann Samuell, the film displays some resemblance to another French film, Amelie. From slow, bullet-time sequences (most likely inspired by The Matrix) to cartoon-like, colorful illustrations of Tim Burton films, Love Me uses sudden camera swoops and the distinctive color palette to complement its deep, mysterious humor. Being a French film, it is not surprising to see how the fast-paced storyline features spectacular array of images while changing sequences.

Though this movie is commercially labeled a comedy, the bizarre conclusion to this movie about challenges at an absurd level can make you stop in your tracks and reflect. Watch this movie, we dare you.


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