The Names of Love

November 24th, 2010


The Names of Love

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Still of Jacques Gamblin and Sara Forestier in The Names of LoveStill of Jacques Gamblin and Sara Forestier in The Names of LoveStill of Michel Leclerc in The Names of LoveStill of Jacques Gamblin and Sara Forestier in The Names of LoveStill of Sara Forestier in The Names of LoveStill of Jacques Gamblin and Sara Forestier in The Names of Love

A young, extroverted left-wing activist who sleeps with her political opponents to convert them to her cause is successful until she meets her match.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 7.2/10 (1,923 voted)

Critic's Score: 62/100

Director: Michel Leclerc

Stars: Sara Forestier, Jacques Gamblin, Zinedine Soualem

Bahia Benmahmoud, a free-spirited young woman, has a particular way of seeing political engagement, as she doesn't hesitate to sleep with those who don't agree with her to convert them to her cause - which is a lot of people, as all right-leaning people are concerned. Generally, it works pretty well. Until the day she meets Arthur Martin, a discreet forty-something who doesn't like taking risks. She imagines that with a name like that, he's got to be slightly fascist. But names are deceitful and appearances deceiving...

Writers: Michel Leclerc, Baya Kasmi

Jacques Gamblin - Arthur Martin
Sara Forestier - Baya Benmahmoud
Zinedine Soualem - Mohamed Benhmamoud
Carole Franck - Cécile Delivet Benmahmoud
Jacques Boudet - Lucien Martin
Michèle Moretti - Annette Martin
Zakariya Gouram - Hassan Hassini
Julia Vaidis-Bogard - Annette à 30 ans
Adrien Stoclet - Arthur Martin adolescent
Camille Gigot - Arthur Martin enfant
Laura Genovino - Bahia Benmahmoud enfant
Rose Marit - Annette enfant
Youari Kime - Mohamed Benmahmoud enfant
Yann Goven - Le pianiste
Nabil Massad - Nassim


Official Website: Music Box Films [United States] | Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 24 November 2010

Filming Locations: Bagnolet, Seine-Saint-Denis, France

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $30,372 (USA) (26 June 2011) (5 Screens)

Gross: $512,668 (USA) (20 November 2011)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The role of Bahia was initially written as a typically Arabic Marilyn Monroe type, and as such Michel Leclerc and Baya Kasmi were looking for an actress of North African origins. However they were so struck when they met Sara Forestier that they rewrote the part with her in mind.

Anachronisms: When Bahia's mother is characterized by her likes and dislikes, she can be seen as a hippie in the 70s, and it is mentioned that she hates films of the 70s starring Alain Delon with the word "flic" (cop) in them. Then a poster of the film Pour la peau d'un flic is briefly shown. Yet, that film only opened in 1981.

User Review

Amazingly rich and funny comedy

Rating: 9/10

Imagine your second name is Leclerc, which is also that of a famous hypermarket chain. Now imagine you have a friend who writes scripts whose first name is Baya, only 26 other people in France have in common with you. Nobody would spare you the question, «Leclerc, ... like the hypermarket?» while your friend couldn't escape «Baya, where does it originate from? Brazil?» whereas her roots are North African. Why not take these two peculiarities as a starting point for a romantic comedy that would deal with questions that matter to you: emigration, identity, the duty to remember, family secrets, taboos, politics?

Michel Leclerc thus becomes Arthur Martin, an Avian Flu expert, whose name immediately calls to mind a well known French cooker brand. And Baya will be Bahia Benmahmoud, an extrovert girl who makes a point of sleeping with as many right-wingers as possible to win them over to the leftist cause. And on they are for a very original, very deep film which, by trying to unite two such dissimilar people, successfully spans the history of France, from the 1930's until today . And a very funny one too (the two most irrepressible scenes being the catastrophic dinner with the in-laws and the crazy cameo of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin). The direction is particularly inspired, creative and unconventional (the characters who address the camera, Jacques Boudet playing a student and a young soldier whereas he is in his seventies because Arthur can't imagine him young, Arthur's dialog with his dead grandparents). «Le nom des gens» has less to do with a standard French comedy than with such brilliant oddities as «Toto le Héros», «Crazy» or «Le premier jour du reste de ma vie», also with Jacques Gamblin, who is perfect here as the dull biologist slowly opening himself to real life. In the role of his wild, passionate but insecure guide on his way to love and life, Sara Forestier gives her best performance since «L'Esquive». Also to be noted are Zinedine Soualem as Bahia's sweet Algerian- born father, Carole Franck as his energetic militant wife, Jacques Boudet and Michèle Moretti as Arthur's parents. And of course Lionel Jospin, who displays a great sense of humor in his only scene. If you like inventive movies that make you both smile and think over, this one is for you.


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