In Anne Fontaine's Nathalie, we're barely treated to the cozy spectacle of Parisian bourgeois respectability of married couple Bernard (Gérard Depardieu) and Catherine (Fanny Ardant) - he's a well-off businessman of some kind, she's a doctor, they move in comfortable circles - before it gets broken up by Catherine's discovery that Bernard has been having an affair. Of course, this is a French film, so when Catherine tells her mother about Bernard's serial philandering, she responds only, "What a nuisance." One can be forgiven for thinking that, even taking into account the Gallic factor, Catherine's mother lacks in the empathy department.
What makes Nathalie different than your run of the mill tale of infidelity is what Catherine decides to do after receiving this news. She frets a bit about her husband, but instead of tossing him out or simply shrugging and getting on with things, she's left uneasy, pining with curiosity. Fortunately, there's a house of ill repute just around the corner from her office, so Catherine decides to do a little field research on what makes men do these sorts of things. Popping into the "private club," all tacky red décor and overly made-up girls, Catherine drinks whiskey straight and gets to know the prettiest girl in the joint, Marlène (Emmanuelle Béart).
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