Private Property Movie Review

Sibling rivalry and real estate disputes are two great topics for cinematic drama. Mix the two together, and you can hope for some serious combustion. In Private Property, divorced Pascale (the always elegant Isabelle Huppert) lives with her twenty-something twin sons, François (Yannick Renier) and Thierry (Jérémie Renier) on a beautiful Belgian farm that she won in a bitter divorce ten years earlier. The stage is set.

It's a strange life. When Pascale is not battling her ex-husband over money, she's trying to control her bratty sons, who seem to have no desire whatsoever to behave like adults. François is more of a mama's boy, while Thierry has a temper and has traditionally sided with his father in family disputes. Pascale, who only now is starting to date again, needs to break out of this routine.

Her idea is to sell the farm, send the boys off into adulthood, and open a B&B with her boyfriend. Her obnoxious sons belittle her idea, accuse her of being money-hungry, and remind her that technically speaking, their father gave the house to them, not her, so she's really in no position to sell it. This selfishness, combined with the boys' constant bickering and immature behavior (a busy day for them is moving from the video game to the ping-pong table), is enough to push Pascale right out of the house and into the arms of her new boyfriend. The film's final minutes take on a sudden and shocking velocity as everything comes to a head and the family implodes in a most unusual way.

Private Property could easily be a three-person, one-set play. Most everything that goes on is in dirty looks and vicious dialog. It goes by fast and pulls no punches. Huppert is great as the troubled Pascale, torn between loving her increasingly difficult sons and wishing they'd just go away. The two Reniers are equally fun to watch, especially Jérémie, who makes Thierry into a truly scary sibling. You're not sure when he's going to snap, but you know it's coming.

Once again Europe shows Hollywood how to put together a funny, sexy, scary, thought-provoking drama and pack it into 90 intense minutes. Is anyone taking notes?

Aka Nue propriété.

It's my property and I'll remodel if I want to.

Cast & Crew

Director : Joachim Lafosse

Producer : Joseph Rouschop

Starring : Yannick Renier, ,


Comments

Private Property Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 2006

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