Only in France could an immense erection be the centre of attention in its capitol city. However this week’s new release is not about Emmanuel Macron but rather the Eiffel Tower and its architect Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) and the film starts with its unveiling on 31st March 1889. But the film soon rewinds three years where its history is seen as anything but smooth running overcoming the inevitable meddling bureaucracy, financial shortfalls and engineering problems all played against a troubled love story which hops back and fore in a confusing fashion. Eiffel’s love for Adrienne Bourges (a charming Emma Mackey) the daughter of a well to do and wealthy financier and the film suggests that the tower, being in the shape of letter A is also a monument to his lost love for her too. In that respect perhaps it’s just as they did not marry as the acronym of Adrienne Reine Solene Eiffel across the Paris landscape does not bear thinking about (mercifully Boris Johnson hasn’t commissioned such a piece of engineering as a tribute to himself with his initials).
But it’s this fictional love story that detracts from what is a far more interesting story of the trials and tribulations of the building of the renowned tower that was originally intended as a temporary structure marking the entrance to the World Fair. That Eiffel rightly saw the structure as far more than that it is, is revealed in one of the many interesting anecdotal moments when the rivets are replaced with bolts to make the structure permanent. His battle with financiers, his own workforce running behind schedule that it’s a surprise they were not a British team and the feats of engineering that saw the foundations of the tower having to be continually pumped empty from ever constant water leaking from the Seine makes this aspect of the film far more interesting than an unnecessary love story that serves only to detract from a lovingly photographed story.
Watch the Eiffel trailer HERE