Nelly and Mr Arnaud is most remarkable for the excellent performance by Michel Serrault, who catches so many nuances in his character, you feel every line has been fully internalised and then said spontaneously. He is well cast opposite Emmanuelle Beart, whose exquisiteness also finds a number of registers and who is really quite pushed by the screenplay in a subtle way. Claude Sautet can always be relied upon to turn out a well-upholstered, intelligent film about relationships, but this must be one of the best, showing great restraint while hinting at considerabe emotional depth and upheaval. He does seem to be a barometer of life in Paris in the nineties, and this is certainly one of the better films of that decade, not just from France. The colours tend towards muted, beige tones, while the film glides though scenes that seem random but all enlarge the picture of these two lives with a deft touch. It's definitely a sophisticated viewing experience, softer than his previous Un Coeur En Hiver, and well worth seeing for anyone who has enjoyed Serrault in the Cage Aux Folles films - it's quite a surprise to see such a change, when the face is more or less the same!