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Erotomania = delusional love

The holidays are the perfect time to rewatch some guilty pleasures, including Love Actually  (2003), which has been hilariously ruined (or remedied) by this article, and Á la folie, pas du tout (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, 2002), starring Audrey Tautou.

The latter's not at all what you'd expect--certainly no Amelie. It's psychological drama that makes your blood run cold halfway through the runtime because nothing is what you thought it was, à la The Sixth Sense, Gone Girl or Hot Fuzz.

The title references how people (who think they're) in love pick daisies and recite the eternal multiple-choice question while destroying delicate petals: S/He loves me--
1) a little (un peu)
2) a lot (beaucoup)
3) madly (à la folie)
4) not at all (pas du tout).

In the beginning of the movie, Married Man seems to love Audrey Tautou a little, if love can be measured by a single, pink rose. Maybe a lot, because he's seeing her even though his wife is pregnant. Perhaps to the point of madness, if he's running away with Audrey after his wife miscarries.

If you haven't watched the movie and don't want it spoiled, read no more.

If you never intend to watch it, we'll make this short.

Married Man stands Audrey up at the airport and she attempts suicide. At least he has the decency to give her mouth-to-mouth after.

But we're not done.

At this point the film rewinds like one of those old VHS tapes, and we are now watching the same scenes from Married Man's point of view. He seems decent, happily married, and incidentally, DOES NOT KNOW Audrey.

He gives her a rose because he bought a huge bouquet for his newly pregnant wife and Audrey happens to be standing there (if you're reading this, don't give roses to randos) and was also kind enough to give her a lift when she happened to be waiting for a taxi after a party (maybe don't give randos rides, either--that's what Lyft/Uber's for).

Married Man doesn't know whodunit yet, but Audrey's also the one who nearly runs his pregnant wife over with a classic European moped, causing her miscarriage.

When he finally solves the mystery of who's stalking him, he tells Audrey there was never anything between them. She responds by biting her lip and hitting him over the head with a heavy object. He falls down a flight of stairs and ends up in a contorted pose, tiny pool of blood forming beneath his head.

An ambulance ride, intensive care, and years of physical therapy later, he and his family (including two new children) finally have a picture-perfect life.

Meanwhile, Audrey's institutionalized. She's getting better...maybe.

They discharge her at the end of the movie, right before viewers realize she's cheeked her pills all these years and lovingly constructed with them a colorful collage-portrait of Married Man on a hidden wall. Dun dun dun.

Not creepy at all.

This is a fictional case of De Clérambault's syndrome, or erotomania, a delusional disorder that may exist on its own or in relation to bipolar I or schizophrenia. Subjects believe their crushes are in love with them, when that is not the case. The "lover" may be real, imaginary, or even deceased. Psychiatric treatment is individualized, but may include antipsychotic medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychotherapy. Harsh confrontation should be avoided (see above.)

Rare historical and contemporary cases of erotomania have been documented. Fiction and the entertainment industry have also made good use of this plot (twist).

What have we learned? 

No random roses; Lyft/Uber; avoid cold confrontations.

Oh, and take your pills.


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