The great French film Mademoiselle Chambon, based on a novel by Eric Holder, never strives for greatness. It just gently saunters there with a majestic, relentless vision of an impossible love. From the opening scene of a picnic where two parents awkwardly try to help their son with his grammar assignment (what is a â€œdirect objectâ€?), director and co-screenwriter StÃ©phane BrizÃ© sends forth his simple plot along with nary a shove. Jean (Vincent Lindon), the dad, is in construction: he builds houses. Anne Marie (Aure Atika), the mom, works at a printer, assembling books. One afternoon, Mom twists her back, and Dad must pick up JÃ©rÃ©my (Arthur Le HouÃ©rou) at school. There Jean meets VÃ©ronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), the teacher. Right away there is a tension -- sexual sparks are about to fly -- but the couple seems unaware of that possibility. Or they wonâ€™t allow themselves to acknowledge this attraction. After all, Jean is happily married, and VÃ©ronique, although single and new to this quiet town hours from Paris, is not on a hunt for companionship. She has her music. Her violin. Then one day another childâ€™s father canâ€™t show up to discuss his job with JÃ©rÃ©myâ€™s class. Will Jean substitute? He will. Afterward, thereâ€™s the matter of VÃ©roniqueâ€™s drafty windows in her tiny apartment. Would Jean have any advice on how to solve this windy dilemma? He does. For payment, Jean asks VÃ©ronique to play her violin for him. The shy teacher at first refuses, but then in one of the most romantic scenes of recent cinema, she agrees, but only with her back to him. But do the pair make love? As Desportes noted in ClÃ©onice: â€œAmour et un enfant sans prudence et sans yeux, Trop dâ€™avis et dâ€™esgard sied mal Ã sa jeunesse.â€ â€œLove is a child that lacks both sense and sight, Keen wit, keen vision ill befit his youth.â€ Jean and VÃ©ronique will have to battle their better senses to connect. Whether theyâ€™ll succeed is never clear. And is "succeed" the correct verb to employ here? With superb, natural performances by the entire cast, lovely understated cinematography by Antoine HeberlÃ©, and world-class direction by BrizÃ©, itâ€™s hard to imagine that youâ€™ll find a better argument for taking a chance on amour this year, no matter how dispiriting the odds. - Brandon Judell Mr. Judell is featured in the forthcoming documentary Activist: The Times of Vito Russo and has been edited out of Rosa von Praunheim's New York Memories. In the fall, he'll be teaching "American Jewish Theater" and "Theater into Film" at The City College of New York. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire.com, The New York Daily News, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi).