Claire is left broken-hearted when her best friend Laura passes away at a young age. She vows to keep an eye on her young daughter Lucie, as well as her husband David. Claire's husband decides to contact David and invite him out to dinner as an offering of sympathy, but Claire begins to find herself with feelings about David she never thought she'd have. However, things get even more complicated when she discovers that David has a secret passion; a hidden persona that he has never before revealed - and it's easy to see why. Nonetheless, Claire's feelings for him begin to intensify over this now shared secret, resulting in a relationship that would surely bring scandal on them both if anyone were to discover them.
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I've read that this movie is based on true events (though the film itself does allude to them and I can't confirm that anywhere), and it plays out with the almost clinical plotting that indicates it could be "ripped from the headlines." Either way, it sounds familiar: Vacationing at a low-budget camp with her parents, Camille (Isild Le Besco) lives a usual life of drinking beer, wearing next to nothing, and wasting away most of the summer. Enter Blaise (Denis Lavant, France's answer to Billy Bob Thornton), the brother-in-law of the camp director, a sad sack who finds pity and a job at the camp. Despite the unlikelihood, Camille (20 years younger and two inches taller) takes a fancy to Blaise, and soon they're canoodling and launching mega gossip throughout the camp. Naturally, Camille's boyfriend dislikes this turn of events, and ultimately things turn nasty.
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This Sade (Daniel Auteuil) is no less seductively charismatic than Rush was, but he has less to do, as Sade chooses to focus more attention on the cultural climate than any specific, provocative interaction between characters. Rush was allowed more leeway to display range from torment to arrogance while Auteuil's Sade is a bit too impervious to his surroundings. What they do both achieve is providing an easy attraction. Neither have the stereotypically sexual physique the average woman clambers for, but their wit and intelligence are arousing. The acting isn't necessarily better in the English counterpart, but there is more weight given to individual motivation so that you're more attuned to personal struggles in the progressively oppressive Napoleonic era.
Continue reading: Sade Review