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The second of Eric Rohmer's Tales of the Four Seasons series is not the chilly story its title would imply. Felicie (Charlotte Véry) is a single mother with two lovers, neither of whom she feels much passion for--and Felicie knows passion. In the opening scene she frolics with youthful abandon with Charles (Frédéric van den Driessche), an American she falls head-over-heels for while on holiday. Through a careless mistake--she gives him the wrong address and doesn't have his--they never reconnect in spite of her best efforts, but his presence continues to permeate her life as she raises their child. The sunny warmth of carefree youth and the emotional ecstasy of the opening turn to the cool colors of winter as Felicie resigns herself to a life without her one true love. She tries to make the best of it by choosing one of her lovers but, in the best tradition of willful Rohmer women, she discovers she simply cannot settle for second best. Felicie is a delightfully contradictory character, lively under her somber front, headstrong and petulant, indecisive and flighty, dedicated to her search for true love. Véry invests Felicie with a spark that enlivens her even at her most exasperating, a spark that Rohmer finally allows to light up in his most emotionally magical conclusion since Summer. --Sean Axmaker
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