The story of an older woman “getting her groove back” with a younger man has become increasingly common (whether this is because of Madonna’s many post-Guy Ritchie trysts or simply because societal boundaries have been broken down is at your discretion). David Moreau’s It Boy (called more literally 20 Ans D’Écart in French, meaning twenty years apart) is continued proof that the walls separating a younger man from an older women are becoming increasingly thin.
Uptight, buttoned-down editor of Rebelle Magazine Alice Lantins (Virginie Efira) finds herself at risk of losing the opportunity for the coveted position of editor-in-chief when she discovers her boss, Vincent (Gilles Cohen), doesn’t see her as suited to the characteristics of the job based on her inability to experiment and push the envelope. Around the same time of this revelation, Alice encounters and unwittingly woos 18-year-old Balthazar (Pierre Niney) on a plane to Paris when he gets bumped up to business class due to a seating error. Instantly enamored of her, Balthazar sees her drop her USB key as she flounces off the plane and dashes to pick it up. Unable to chase after her in time, Balthazar manages to get her to call him by leaving a message at her work. When Alice finally returns the call upon noticing the key is gone, she meets up with Balthazar at a bar. Her rival co-worker, Lise Duchêne (Amélie Glenn)–who Vincent cites as someone that is editor-in-chief material because of her free-spiritedness–spots her talking to Balthazar and later snaps a photo of them outside when it appears as though he’s kissing her when, really, he’s simply adjusting her helmet before they get on his scooter.
When Alice gets what she wants from Balthazar after, unfortunately, having to meet his father, Luc (Charles Berling), she tries to leave as quickly as possible–but not before he awkwardly manages to ask her out, a proposal she flatly refuses. The next day, when whispers of the leaked photo circulate throughout the office, Alice finally figures out what everyone is talking about when Vincent shows her the picture. Horrified to learn that he’s actually pleased by her impetuousness, Alice decides she has no choice but to pursue Balthazar if she wants to be viewed as a serious contender for the so-called job of her dreams.
As she spends more time with Balthazar, however, she gradually loosens her barriers and comes to find that she truly enjoys being with him. As a divorced single mother of Zoé (Jenna Azoulay), Alice never considered that she could permit herself the happiness of a romance–in spite of how many times her sister, Elisabeth (Camille Japy), tries to throw various men at her. In the background of all this, we’re made aware of Alice’s set aside profession as a novelist (she previously wrote one book, An Isle Without Oceans), which will come full-circle at the film’s conclusion when she begins her latest book with the lines, “Newton made the discovery of a lifetime when an apple hit him on the head. With me, it was a sneaker.” This mention of the sneaker refers to the night she first slept with Balthazar and he lost his shoe, which doesn’t interest Alice as she tries to get him out of the apartment in the cold, harsh light of (a rainy) day. Willing to leave at her command, Balthazar puts a plastic bag on his foot to substitute the shoe. Later, during their breakup (further spurred on by his knowledge of how she used him), she happens to unearth it from behind her full-length mirror, at which time she realizes just how much she misses Balthazar. For in the end, you see, good dick and an open mind conquers all logic. Age be damned.