RTÉ surprised me this Valentine’s Day by saying what I was going to say!

In their recent article, 10 Great Romances You May Not Have Seen, they list Just A Sigh, OUR favorite romantic film for this holiday, plus they provide a lovely screen grab of our favorite romantic couple as the featured image for the article!

Gabriel Byrne as Douglas and Emmanuelle Devos as Alix

Their description of the film hits all the right spots, too:

Let’s face it: many a person’s fantasy is to find themselves sitting across from Gabriel Byrne on a train – or, for that matter, French screen icon Emmanuelle Devos. If you’re one such dreamer, hop aboard Just a Sigh. Your memories, what-ifs and what-might-have-beens will be your travelling companions for the duration of this trip. From Brief Encounter to Before Sunrise, the premise of Just a Sigh is as familiar as the song from which it takes its title, so credit to writer-director Jérôme Bonnell for making such a compelling romantic drama about chance, fate, the different parts we all play and the journeys we are taking. As in life, so onscreen: how quickly time goes by.

This scene gives you a taste of the intimacy and the humor Just A Sigh celebrates:

A compelling anecdote about this film, which screened in the USA in April, 2013 (almost 10 years ago, now! Time DOES fly by, doesn’t it?), is director/writer Jérôme Bonnell’s admission that, yes, he did indeed base his story on a personal experience. He never provided any details, and so we have no way of knowing how much of what we see on the screen actually happened to him in “real life,” or if he simply used his adventure as a starting off point for his otherwise fictitious script, but it does not matter. That one little item of private drama adds a certain spark to my experience of the film, every time–as though the sparks provided by Gabriel Byrne and Emmanuelle Devos, which fly through the air all around them, aren’t enough!

Why? Because he is saying, with this story, that yes. It can happen. It has happened. It did happen.

What a lovely thought for Valentine’s Day, for those of us who found our special someone, and also for those of us who are still venturing out each June to Fête de la Musique in Paris, hoping to bump into that special magical someone . . . It could happen!

Fête de la Musique Official Poster for 2013

The RTÉ article recommends several other romantic films that might tickle your fancy, including my favorites, Shopgirl and Monsoon Wedding, so be sure to check it out.

And you might also soak up my romance-addled and perhaps inappropriately enthusiastic (but so like me!) homage to Gabriel and this film, entitled The Doors of Heaven, too.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, alone or together. Gabriel will keep you company, either way. heart


  1. Thanks for the reminder. I absolutely love this film . Happy Valentines Day, Stella!

  2. Dora Baralia

    BEAUTIFUL… the name of this film…what exceptional actors and what excellent news! Thanks Stella for the name of the page, to see more information of our dear Gabriel. . . and your wonderful words. A place devoted to the belief in miracles and the obsessive power of love ….nothing more real ….and nothing more beautiful than that we can find Gabriel on a train in front us. I DIE OF LOVE. Thanks for recommending Shopgirl and Monsoon Wedding. And The Doors of Heaven. The BEST for all of you! I know you you will have had a beautiful Valentine’s Day. All my feelings at the distance ….

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