We�re not talking Dardennes here, but fellow Belgian Christophe Van Rompaey gives this light May-to-December pair-up an agreeably mussed, pedestrian milieu. Rather than an exquisitely frumpified rom-com creation, Matty (Barbara Sarafian), 41, is a middle-class Ghent mother of three pretending to be shrewish while her experimentally estranged hubby dithers. (Her neighborhood�s "Moscow" moniker is just title bait.) A fender-bender triggers a persistent suitor in lanky, rangy trucker Johnny (Jurgen Delnaet), and their one-night stand leads, a few requisite demurrals later, to a home-cooked dinner with her and the kids (menu: blood sausage and stewed apples). But out of emotional routine, Matty still humors the indecision of her weak-willed art-teacher husband, who�s like a sitcom neighbor with an excuse to drop by. The clich�s are firmly in place, no question: Johnny is Mr. Fix-It, drawing out her shy son with comic-book references, and the romantic volleying chugs along until it�s suddenly time not to. Yet Sarafian�s maternally weary manner suits the low-key tone perfectly (and the accordion score is admirably unrepentant). Though it backs away from Johnny�s adventuresomely not-funny past (courtesy of his rival asking, sigh, �a friend at the police station�), Moscow, Belgium leaves you feeling less offended and dirty-feeling than the evidence suggests.
Christophe Van RompaeyBarbara Sarafian, Jurgen Delnaet, Johan Heldenbergh, Anemone Valcke, Sofia Ferri, Julian Borsani, Bob De Moor, Jits Van Belle, Griet van Damme, Lisa BuylaertJean-Claude Van Rijckeghem, Pat van BeirsJean-Claude Van RijckeghemNeoClassics Films