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A hypnotic French import with next to no plot to interfere with its mesmerizing portrait of the moment to moment stuff of life. Benoit Jacquot's film follows in the restless footsteps of Valerie (Virginie Ledoyen), a pugnacious young woman working her first day as a
room-service waitress in a Parisian hotel. We learn she's pregnant because she meets her reluctant boyfriend in a cafe to tell him the news; we learn later that she has the child by herself and survives with her head up. What happens in between -- confrontations with customers, wrangles with the
other members of the staff, stolen opportunities to sneak a cigarette or make a phone call -- is purely incidental, and at the same time precisely what the film is about: the rhythms of the day, shot and edited with electric precision and energy. Plot becomes unimportant -- you're too sucked in by
the magnetic traction of Valerie's life to care that nothing much is happening. It's one of those rare films that communicates in purely visual terms, and most other contemporary movies look lifeless by comparison.