Desperate to help her, Nicholas consults a doctor (played by Gondry himself) who informs them that she has a flower growing in her lungs.
The only cure for her bizarre affliction is to surround her with a neverending supply of fresh flowers, and Nicolas soon goes broke providing them for her.
In its unhurried first half, “Microbe and Gasoline” seems content to serve as mere character portrait, distinguishing itself from the thousands of other teen pics by acknowledging the fundamental awkwardness of adolescence.
Gondry sketches an honest impression of youth where Microbe’s crush, a classmate named Laura (Diane Besnier), isn’t some jailbait bombshell, but rather an equally uncomfortable young woman with braces, and where a sincere act of friendship at a particularly vulnerable moment (such as the supportive way Gasoline handles Microbe’s deserted gallery opening) can cement one’s self-confidence for life.
A Q&A with director Michel Gondry with follow the screenings Thursday thru Saturday, with actress Audrey Tautou joining him on Friday.