IIt’s a lingering area of cinematic myopia – the idea that science or math or, in this case, engineering isn’t, on its own, sexy enough to carry a film. Thus, portraits of some of the great minds of the 19th century – Mary Anning in Ammonite, and now engineer Gustave Eiffel – are modernized with a doomed romance. As this beautiful vintage photo tells, a chance meeting between Eiffel (a tousled Romain Duris) and the long-lost love of his life, Adrienne (Emma Mackey), inspired the tower itself. Adrienne’s challenge to “be bold” is the catalyst that prompts Eiffel to abandon his case for an egalitarian but unglamorous subway system like his contribution to the 1889 World’s Fair, and dream big about the square. Its initial – A – made from 7,300 tons of wrought iron, is permanently etched into the Paris cityscape.
eiffel isn’t without entertainment – it would pass the time quite pleasantly on a long-haul flight. Together, Duris and Mackey have corset-squeaking chemistry. But hyping a fictional romance over a feat of engineering feels like a missed opportunity. The wise score is an example of this – it’s all decorative ribbons and lace where it could have taken inspiration from rivets and beams and perhaps met the requirement to be bold.