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Isabelle Huppert pose in the winners' room at the 70th EE British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London, United Kingdom - Sunday 12th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2017 (BAFTAs) held at the Royal Albert Hall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 12th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 2017 EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 12th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 2017 EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 12th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 16th Annual AARP Magazine's 'Movies For Grownups' Awards at The Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Tuesday 7th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 89th Oscars Nominees Luncheon 2017 held in the Grand Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 6th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 69th Annual Director Guild Awards held at the Beverly Hilton - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 5th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 69th Annual Director Guild Awards held at the Beverly Hilton - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 4th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 69th Annual Director Guild Awards held at the Beverly Hilton - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 4th February 2017

Isabelle Huppert

Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert seen on the red carpet at the 74th Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 8th January 2017

Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert at the 2017 HBO Golden Globe After Party - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 9th January 2017

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert attends the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street, New York, United States - Tuesday 29th November 2016

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert seen alone and with Paul Verhoeven at a screening of 'Elle' presented by Audi as part of AFI Fest 2016 held at the Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood, California, United States - Monday 14th November 2016

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert - BFI London Film Festival: 'Abuse of Weakness' European premiere held at the Odeon West End - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Monday 14th October 2013

Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Breillat
Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert Tuesday 13th May 2008 2009 Cannes International Film Festival - Day 1 Cannes, France

Isabelle Huppert

The Swindle Review


Weak
There's no denying that Claude Chabrol is a master of the French thriller. But every once in awhile, even the best throw up a brick. The Swindle is workmanlike at best, a tired flick (Chabrol's 50th!) that even devoted fans will shrug their shoulders at.

Judging by the title and the con-game setup, we're on alert for twists from the very beginning: Betty (Isabelle Huppert) is seen with an obvious mark at a casino. Soon she's got him back in his hotel room, drugged, and lets in an older man who's been watching the pair. He turns out to be her partner Victor (Michel Serrault), and they take 1/3 of the mark's money (not so much that he'd miss it) and vanish back to their RV. These guys are small time and they know it. Nothing wrong with that, but while planning their next move, Betty decides to take a vacation. She and Victor reconnect a few weeks later at a mountain resort, and she's apparently got another swindle going with a wealthy man carrying 5 million Swiss francs in an attache case. Obviously Betty's going to make a play for it, but is Victor going to be in on the deal too? Or is he going to try to nab it all for himself?

Continue reading: The Swindle Review

Madame Bovary Review


Very Good
Claude Chabrol hasn't made many adaptations of classic literature, but he proves to have a capable, if stuffy, hand with Madame Bovary. Isabelle Huppert takes center stage as a poor gal who just wants to get ahead. She does so by marrying one Dr. Charles Bovary, who truns out to be a real drip. Driven by passion, she embarks on a series of affairs while taking on debt to pay for her finery, debt which eventually drives her to extreme measures. Huppert has an interesting take on the character, but the rest of the cast is rather staid. Typical period flourishes abound, too.

Ma Mère Review


OK
At some point, there won't be any taboos left to ostensibly shatter, and what will French imports do then? Ma Mère is the newest Gallic provocation to come to these shores, though unlike some others (the dismal Anatomy of Hell, say) it has actually been paid attention to by the ratings board, thusly the NC-17 for "strong and aberrant sexual content." The aberrance this time isn't just the coital mingling of older women and younger men (a la last year's The Piano Teacher, which also starred Isabelle Huppert) but also incest, just for kicks. The idea was controversial enough when it was used in the film's source, the titular 1960s Georges Bataille novel, but here it's more likely to cause yawns than outrage.

The strapping youth whom the film places at the intersecting desires of three women is Pierre (Louis Garrel), a somewhat idle guy who, after his father's mysterious death, gets sucked into the orbit of his self-destructive mother, Helène (Huppert). This involves a lot of gamesmanship whereby Helène tries to push Pierre into more and more outlandish behavior, especially with her wastrel friend Réa (Joane Preiss), whom she's more than a little chummy with. At first, Helène pushes Pierre towards Réa, seemingly as a way of having one-degree-of-separation sex with him, watching longingly as Réa screws Pierre in public, blasé strangers wandering past. It's easy to see why these three are pushing themselves to such extremes, given the film's bland setting in the Grand Canaries - with its California-like, mildly libidinous atmosphere and constant, enervating sunlight. But unfortunately that doesn't mean there's much depth to it at all, no matter how much philosophical and religious piffle writer/director Christophe Honoré puts into Pierre's portentous voiceovers.

Continue reading: Ma Mère Review

Elective Affinities Review


OK
If someone asked me to identify a prototypical "art film," I could do no better than to point them to Elective Affinities, a low-budget period piece from Italy, featuring circuitous dialogue, a story based on a Goethe novel, and an absolutely awful title.

Elective Affinities tracks a foursome in a Tuscan villa who couple in a variety of formations. There's bad feelings and a baby, but most of all there's a whole lotta talking about emotions -- with a pseudo-scientific explanation of love as a mathematical equation (which, sort of, explains the title).

Continue reading: Elective Affinities Review

Going Places (1974) Review


Excellent
Talk about aimless: These two hooligans (Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere) wander across the whole of France, simply looking for trouble. Namely that includes stealing cars and bedding women (usually in a three-way), then running away from whatever trouble they find themselves in -- whether they end up with a gruesome suicide on their hands or nurse from a lactating woman's breast on a train. And oh, it's a comedy. Quite funny, with a strangely perverted sensibility you aren't likely to find in many other films.

Continue reading: Going Places (1974) Review

The Time Of The Wolf Review


Good
What is it about French filmmakers and the word "wolf?" This is the second French film in three years to ostensibly cover the lupine species... even though it doesn't really.

Director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) offers a tantalizing setup this go-round, yet he ultimately does nothing with it. Here's the gist: A family arrives at their vacation house under suspicious (and weirdly hazy) circumstances, only to find squatters living inside. Soon Haneke reveals that some (unexplained) apocalyptic event has transpired, scattering people across the countryside. What happens when people try to survive a nuclear winter (or thereabouts)? Does soceity break down or does it rebuild?

Continue reading: The Time Of The Wolf Review

Les Destinées Review


Weak
Do you like plates? Like, really nice plates? Perhaps fine porcelain plates made in the 1900s-1920s in Limoges, France?

You better damn well like plates if you're going to suffer through the three hours of Les Destinées, an exhausting family drama about a porcelain empire and just as hard a flick as its subject matter.

Continue reading: Les Destinées Review

Lumiere And Company Review


Good
A documentary-ish experiment: Give 40 movie directors the world's first movie camera (the Lumiere cinematograph, 1895) and 52 seconds in which to shoot their own mini-film. Some of the directors go all out (David Lynch and some French people I've never heard of)... and some are pathetic, self-ego-massaging wastes of time (particularly Spike Lee, who uses his 52 seconds trying to get his baby to say "Dada"). Also curious is how many directors made movies about making movies (methinks that's all they know any more). But how often can you see 40 films, the making-of story, and an interview with the director, all in an hour and a half? Once in a lifetime is just about enough.

Amateur Review


Good
Hal Hartley's latest film, Amateur, is quite a departure from his earlier work. Still gone is his once-traditional lead, the crimson-haired ingenue Adrienne Shelly (who hasn't been seen since Trust), and in her stead are two foreign actresses, Isabelle Huppert (as a lapsed nun trying to make it as a porn story writer and who believes she is a nymphomaniac) and Elena Lowensohn (returning to Hartley's films as Sofia, a somewhat psycho porn star). Hartley's favorite male lead, Martin Donovan, remains as Thomas, the slimeball husband of Sofia.

The plot is this: Sofia is fed up with Thomas, so she tries to kill him. He doesn't die--he just cracks his head and develops amnesia. Isabelle finds him and takes him under her already fragile wing. Throw in an extortion plot wherein the old Thomas was trying to blackmail a nameless entity, and add the thugs trying to kill him. Eventually, everyone gets sucked into this scheme, and nothing works out for any of them.

Continue reading: Amateur Review

La Cérémonie Review


Excellent
Tireless French director Claude Chabrol returns to top form with the existential mind-scrambler La Cérémonie, a creepy and disturbing movie that gets under your skin from the very beginning. We know something bad is going to happen -- we just don't know what.

Sandrine Bonnaire (so memorable in East/West) plays a simple maid named Sophie -- so simple in fact that she doesn't know how to read. Hired on by an affluent family living in a large estate in a small town in the north of France, she proves herself an impeccable housekeeper. But when the man of the house calls home for her to fetch files off her desk or the matriarch hands her the shopping list, she invents excuses as to why they can't be done, all in an effort to hide her illiteracy.

Continue reading: La Cérémonie Review

La Truite Review


OK
There really are fish in La Truite ("the trout"): The film opens as Isabelle Huppert is bored silly squeezing semen out of a fish on the family trout farm. It's an allegory for her own mailaise, and within 20 minutes of screen time, she's abandoned her gay husband and is off to Tokyo with a wealthy businessman.

Ever the free spirit, Huppert's Frédérique has a vague Peter Pan syndrome crossed with exhibitionism. Since her youth (you can tell it's a flashback because she has really long hair), she's made a vow to always woo money out of men by playing neo-whore, but without having sex with them. Heading to Japan with a man (Daniel Olbrychski) she meets in a bowling alley (where else would she encounter him!?) is just this to the nth degree. There she encounters another man's wife (Jeanne Moreau), who tells her about satori, the "world of ecstasy."

Continue reading: La Truite Review

8 Women Review


Weak
It's certainly admirable for a writer and/or director (in this case both) to take on a variety of genres. To pull off quirky comedy (Warm Drops on Burning Rocks) and then turn to a story of subtle human pain (Under the Sand) with as much exactness wins kudos in the Respect department. Some points for the ingenuity to weave in a handful of enthusiastic, never-used musical numbers need also be awarded. Working with deservedly reputable chameleons like Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert doesn't hurt any either. So why does 8 Women (not to be confused with 8 1/2 Women) fail to provide the simplest escapist entertainment?

Before pondering this, the question of whether or not a frivolous film is acceptable needs to be addressed. Mindless eye candy is redeemable when a) at least one character is fun to follow; b) some of the humor is fresh instead of feeling like a bunch of regurgitated stereotypes; c) not every single scene or line of dialogue is predictable, including the supposedly surprising conclusion.

Continue reading: 8 Women Review

The Piano Teacher Review


Excellent
Older innocence collides with youthful wisdom in this slow-moving but consistently impressive and unsettling look at spinsterhood. A startlingly bland-featured Isabelle Huppert stars as the title role, a woman so tied to her obsessive mother that she has grown up with unnaturally hindered emotional reactions.

At just over two hours long, one might assume that the inner turmoil would take exhausting eye strain to build, but writer/director Michael Haneke (from a novel by Elfriede Jelinek) craftily structures a detailed, deeply disturbing environment in the first five minutes. As Professor Kohut (Huppert) comes home late one night, her mother (Annie Girardot) violently searches her purse to gain some intelligence about what she's up to. A middle-aged woman forced to answer to a parent is enough, but Haneke takes this dysfunction a step further by concentrating on physical interaction. It's far more powerful to see these two women smacking each other than giving one another the stereotypical guilt-ridden lectures other family dramas often fall back on.

Continue reading: The Piano Teacher Review

Heaven's Gate Review


Weak
Heaven's Gate is not, as its reputation suggests, the worst Hollywood movie ever made. Looked at in a certain light it even has some brilliance to it, and at stray moments you can even forget that Michael Cimino's film is now a three-and-a-half-hour metaphor for the hubris of ego and the dangers of not watching your budget. (Heaven's Gate had an original budget of $7.5 million, eventually cost a whopping $44 million, took in less than $2 million at the box office, financially kneecapped United Artists, and scotched Cimino's career as a director. The gory details, wonderfully told, are all in the book Final Cut, written by then-UA production exec Steven Bach.) Strip away the behind-the-scenes story, and Heaven's Gate is an enigma, as difficult to like as it is to dismiss. It is arrogant and it is beautiful. It is thematically clever and rhetorically dull. It is sensitive and it is condescending. It has enormous ambition and winds up with nothing to say. Eventually, it's just sadly exhausting.

One thing's for certain: Kris Kristofferson is blameless. A solid if not terribly nuanced actor, he plays James Averill, an upstanding marshal who arrives Johnson County, Wyoming to investigate rumors of turmoil there. It's worse than he imagines; as the station agent explains when Averill arrives, Johnson County (not Cimino) has become "the asshole of creation," thanks to ongoing bloodshed between wealthy WASP landowners and the immigrant settlers who try to work their small parcels of land. The landowners are led by the obscenely amoral Frank Canton (Sam Waterston, razor-sharp), who draws up a "death list" of 125 Johnson County residents who are legally approved to be killed under false accusations of thievery.

Continue reading: Heaven's Gate Review

Story Of Women Review


Good
Like any good Frenchman, Claude Chabrol had to tackle the German occupation at some point. How he did it, in 1988's unfortunately-titled Story of Women, is a matter of odd trivia. For his big WWII movie, Chabrol took up the issue of abortion.

Isabelle Huppert stars as Marie, an obviously oppressed housewife whose husband is off at war. Marie dreams of things far beyond possibility -- she lives in occupied France yet wants to be a professional singer -- but nothing is worse than the arrival of her husband (François Cluzet) back from the war, suffering from shell shock. This isn't a happy homecoming. This merely means another person to feed on limited rations -- and one who soils his shorts repeatedly.

Continue reading: Story Of Women Review

8 Women Review


Very Good

An affectionate, sophisticated parody of Technicolor melodramas and musicals of the 1950s -- with a some mock-Agatha Christie thrown in for fun -- Francios Ozon's ironic, estrogen-overloaded "8 Women" is a cinema-couture candy whodunit, full of frivolous twists and frothy performances.

Set at a snowed-in country chateau in France where the man of the house has been found dead with a knife in his back, the artificially stylized film (sets are deliberately soundstagey, Dior-inspired costumes pop with color, characters are mock-'50s stereotypes) traps all its impeccably attired suspects in the house together (The phone line's been cut! The car has been sabotaged!) and slowly reveals each of their deep, dark secrets to fuel whimsical paranoid conjecture.

Could the killer be the man's well-bred bourgeois wife (Catherine Deneuve) who was never all that fond of him? How about their chic, beautiful, ostensibly virginal elder daughter (Virginie Ledoyen) or her tomboyish teenage sister (Ludivine Sagnier)? Perhaps his live-in mother-in-law (Danielle Darrieux) -- who had been faking the need to use a wheelchair for reasons unknown -- did it?

Continue reading: 8 Women Review

Time Of The Wolf Review


OK

The Munich-born, French-dwelling Michael Haneke's work is nothing if not challenging.

The first film I saw of his, "Code Unknown," I found shockingly brilliant, with mesmerizing extended takes exploring all kinds of inner torments, class struggles and frustrations with identity and celebrity.

His follow-up, "The Piano Teacher," was far less satisfying, and struck me as a one-dimensional, unreasonable portrait of a masochist. Nevertheless, "Code Unknown" passed by with barely a whisper and "The Piano Teacher" became a huge art-house phenomenon, even snatching up our San Francisco Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress for star Isabelle Huppert.

Continue reading: Time Of The Wolf Review

Isabelle Huppert

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Isabelle Huppert Movies

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Elle Trailer

Elle Trailer

Like her career, Michèle has always micromanaged her life; she's constantly in control and has...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

Louder Than Bombs Trailer

Louder Than Bombs Trailer

The death of Isabelle Reed thrusts her family consisting of her husband Conrad Reed (Devin...

The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby Trailer

The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby Trailer

Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) play a couple who fall in love and...

Dead Man Down Movie Review

Dead Man Down Movie Review

Here's yet another preposterous action movie that's made watchable by a skilful director and an...

Amour Trailer

Amour Trailer

Anne and Georges are a devoted, elderly couple who both used to be music teachers....

Amour Movie Review

Amour Movie Review

A striking look at a long-term relationship, this film is an antidote to those who...

White Material Movie Review

White Material Movie Review

Claire Denis resolutely refuses to make simple movies, so this intense drama set during a...

VillaAmalia Movie Review

VillaAmalia Movie Review

Insinuating and enigmatic filmmaking adds to the central mystery of this intensely personal odyssey, which...

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