The exquisite young artist, Angélique (Tautou) sends a rose to her lover, the cardiologist Loic Le Garrec (Le Bihan). She is planning a future with him; the only problem is that he is married. But he has promised to leave his wife. Angélique is little troubled that the couple are expecting a baby and when the pregnancy is lost following an accident, she believes the day will be soon.

Her medical student friend, David, worries that she is being used and is appalled by the accumulation of disappointments and slights that Angélique must endure. She falls apart, neglects herself and the home and exotic plants that she has been watching for friends, but when she hears that Loic has been accused of assault by a female patient, she is utterly disbelieving. The patient is found dead and the doctor falls under suspicion.

Rapid rewind, and the movie begins again with the rose, and by repeating a handful of earlier scenes, retells the same events from the perspective of the doctor. He has no idea who is the sender of the rose, and as the flowers, notes, and gifts accumulate he grows more distracted, even angry, and his wife is suspicious.

It emerges that Angélique and Loic have barely ever spoken to each other and that she actually volunteered for house-sitting next door, in order to be close to him. The accident that caused the miscarriage was Angélique’s attempt to kill his wife by running her down with a motor scooter. The patient who charged the doctor with assault was wrongly mistaken by him for the secret admirer; he struck her out of anger and fear. She presses charges against him and pursues him through the courts until she is murdered by Angélique.

But the doctor knows none of that. When Angélique attempts suicide with gas, he saves her life and she is all the more smitten. Gradually the doctor realizes her real identity and the police link her to the murder. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Years pass. Loic and his wife have two beautiful children. Angélique is finally discharged with reassurance that she will be well as long as she takes her medicine. In the final scene, the caretaker moves a large cupboard to find all the pills that she had been prescribed over four years pasted to the wall in a larger-than-life portrait of Loic.


A romantic thriller? a tragic comedy? A Janus-faced portrayal of a doomed love affair? This jewel of a film is all of the above, and more. It is also a remarkable portrayal of DSM diagnosis of erotomania, or de Clérambault’s syndrome, from the perspective of the sufferer, and then from that of the victim. In this condition, a person, usually female, falls hopelessly in love with someone, usually of greater fame, wealth, or authority, and she believes (wrongly) that the sentiment is reciprocated.

In the first half of the film, the viewer worries that sweet, talented Angélique is being used by Loic. She may seem foolish, but she is not bad. In the second half, the ironically named Angélique emerges as a demon: obsessional, deulsional, and dangerous; she is a thief and a murder. Loic is innocent, harried and vulnerable; wronged in so many ways, he is desperate to find out who has been tormenting him and his wife.

The remarkable achievement of this film is its wit, and clever plausibility. The writer-director began this project as a short script during her studies at Ecole Lumière, but subsequently expanded and refined it over four years. She was 26 years old when it was released to much acclaim as her directing début.


French title "A la folie, pas de tout'. In French with English subtitles

Primary Source

Seville Pictures