The Double Life of Veronique

"Excellent"

The Double Life of Veronique Review


Before he made hism Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red), Krzysztof Kieslowski made what might have been the crowning achievement of a distinguished career. I say "might" because The Double Life of Veronique is a difficult film that, even after several viewings, doesn't give up its secrets easily. It is also one of those rare films that, when you get down to it, isn't really about anything at all. The film's meaning is held in what you, the viewer, decide to read into it.

That's fitting, because Veronique is a film all about subjectivity. The setup is simple. What follows is not. Here's the idea that Kieslowski sat down with when deciding to make the film: Two women look identical and have similar lives, despite living in different countries. They are both even named Veronique, almost. Veronique (Irène Jacob) is a French woman who aspires to be a concert hall vocalist. Weronika (also Jacob, of course) is a Polish woman, a singer as well. They are born on the same day and even share a medical condition, which leads Veronique to drop dead on the eve of her big break.

This is 30 minutes into the movie.

What follows is the story of Weronika, who never really meets Veronique, but whose life impacts hers in mysterious and profound ways. Naturally there are issues of mistaken identity, but Kieslowski is too clever to try to make a film about that. He spins a tale that sets Weronika on a journey of discovery, revolving eventually around a secret admirer who sends her an anonymous tape in the mail. It is later revealed he is a puppeteer... when he makes one in the image of Weronika, he builds two, of course. Just in case.

Ultimately, there are no real lessons in The Double Life of Veronique. Like its twin heroines, it is a mystery without a real solution. Why are those two women intertwined? There's no answer in the film, and viewers trying to puzzle it out will be left grasping for straws or throwing out theories with no real basis for them. Just, "Here's what I think..." speculation pulled from one orifice or another. But I like to think that, for Kieslowski, that's perfectly OK. The film is completely open ended, almost to a fault. (The new Criterion two-disc DVD set includes the U.S. ending, which is a bit longer and a bit less open, and you are free to extrapolate from it.) Enjoy the film, let it wash over you. With the lush visuals -- shot frequently in reflections or through optical oddities like a glass sphere -- you won't have any trouble with that.

The DVD set also includes commentary from a Kieslowski scholar, three of the director's short films, plus one from his teacher, two documentaries about Kieslowski, an interview with Jacob from 2005, and more, including a small book of essays on the film.

Aka La Double vie de Véronique.

Sleepy head.



The Double Life of Veronique

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd November 1991

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Leonardo De La Fuente

Starring: as Weronika/Véronique, Halina Gryglaszewska as La Tante, as Alexandre Fabbri, Guillaume de Tonquédec as Serge, Kalina Jędrusik as La femme barjolée, as Le chef d'orchestre, Władysław Kowalski as Le père de Weronika, Jerzy Gudejko as Antek, Janusz Sterninski as L'avocat, Sandrine Dumas as Catherine, Louis Ducreux as Le professeur, as Le père de Véronique, Lorraine Evanoff as Claude, Gilles Gaston-Dreyfus as Jean-Pierre, Alain Frérot as Le facteur, Youssef Hamid as Le cheminot, Thierry de Carbonnières as Le prof, as La réceptionniste, Nausicaa Rampony as Nicole, Boguslawa Schubert as La femme au chapeau, Jacques Potin as L'homme au manteau gris

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.