Having decided to become a writer, Xavier (Romain Duris) is in London to help write the memoirs of a beautiful model. Whilst there he reunites with his old flatmate Wendy (Kelly Reilly), whose brother William (Kevin Bishop) has found love in Russia. Xavier and Wendy begin a tense relationship which comes to a head when the characters visit St Petersburg for William's wedding.


The Spanish Apartment was an arthouse hit in 2002 – the story of a group of twenty-somethings who become flatmates in Barcelona. Director Cedric Klapisch brings back many of the same cast for his sequel, Russian Dolls.

It's five years later and Xavier (Romain Duris) is now a self absorbed, freelance writer, living in Paris. He's kept in contact with his ex, Martine (Audrey Tatou) and best friend, Isabelle (Cecil De France), but is dissatisfied with life. He wants a career and the perfect woman, but keeps making the wrong choices. He's commissioned to write a mushy romance script in English for a TV show, so he travels back and forth to London to work with old friend, Wendy (Kelly Reilly). And they start to fall for each other.

Russian Dolls
is set at a vibrant pace, as we switch from Paris to London to St Petersburg, but the film needs trimming. It seems director Cedric Klapisch is so dedicated to his characters that he lets even the simplest scenes and interactions drag on. Plus, the film is weighed down with Xavier's internal dialogue. He tells us everything, when really, we could have figured out some of it for ourselves. It's a shame, because it distracts from the lovely performances, the unique visual style and the characters' struggles with their choices of love and career, which when you're around that age, feel like life decisions.