Magalie Lépine Blondeau and director Monia Chokri on The Nature of Love

by W. Andrew Powell

Writer and director Monia Chokri started working on The Nature of Love six years ago, when she was inspired to tell a love story, and the result is something sweet, sad, and often very funny.

During the Toronto International Film Festival, Chokri and star Magalie Lépine Blondeau sat down with me to talk about the film, their friendship, and the way the story stands apart from other love stories.

“I really wanted to to dive in to this subject, and I was stuck between this idea of, I’m someone who’s in love with love, but I have trouble with couples, like this idea of being in a couple, in a relationship and how this works,” Chokri said. “So I started to figure it out, this idea of a woman meeting this guy and having this relationship between two men, and she gives them different parts of herself.”

Finding her star was very easy for the film since Chokri has been close to Blondeau for many years.

“She’s my best friend… [and] I think she’s one of the greatest actresses I’ve met in my life.”

“She’s very beautiful, very sensual, and she calls love, but she is also a brilliant person, intellectual, and she has a very profound reflection about the world, so she was the perfect match for this part.”

Blondeau found it easy to connect with Sophia, and the passionate but also comical story of a woman looking for love.

“I read the script years ago, way before she even thought of me for the part, and I instantly fell in love with the character. And [Chokri] is one of the rare writers whom I can read and laugh out loud.”

“I loved what the film talked about, the complexity to it, the way that she kind of takes her hand and makes us travel into a woman’s mind and body with such ease, bringing us to laugh and and cry, but with such intelligence,” Blondeau said.

“The script was really, really funny, but she didn’t direct us that way. She directed us with a lot of intensity because obviously the characters are not aware that they’re in a comedy, and for them, everything they go through is such a tragedy, they’re almost pathetic, as we all are when we fall in love. And the gravity of it brings a lot of laughter because because we have a perspective with them and their love story and their issues, but they do not. I thought that was a really brilliant.”

After working together for the film, Blondeau was also surprised. “I didn’t think that we could be any closer than we already were,” she said.

“I’m always afraid to work with my friends,” Chokri said, “because we have this equality relationship and then, I’ll be–not her boss–but you know.So I was afraid of that, and I couldn’t think, as you said, that we could love each other more than we do, and she gave me a really big present to be Sophia, because the character wouldn’t be as good [without her].”

The Nature of Love is streaming now on Mubi. Watch the full interview at the top of the story.

TIFF 2018

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