Reuniting with filmmaker Philippe Claudel (I've Loved You So Long), Kristin Scott Thomas delivers yet another brittle, understated performance as a woman who isn't always likeable but is hugely sympathetic. But even though the film is beautifully made, it's also elusive, never quite making it clear what the point is.
Scott Thomas plays Lucie, the glamorous wife of the noted Paris surgeon Paul (Daniel Auteuil). They live in a strikingly modern home in a leafy suburb, where they indulge in lavish gardening projects and spoil the adorable baby daughter of their son Victor (Jerome Varanfrain) and his wife Caroline (Vicky Krieps). After flirting with waitress Lou (Leila Bekhti), Paul starts receiving daily deliveries of roses to his home, office and hospital, which unnerves him thoroughly. He also keeps spotting Lou around town, begging her to stop sending flowers. But is it her? Of course, Lucie can see that something fishy is going on, but she has her own issues as she's constantly pursued by Paul's business partner Gerard (Richard Berry). And Victor and Caroline's marriage is just as strained.
All of these plot-threads and more swirl around to make the film darkly involving. And through it all is a current of resentment, mainly because the characters refuse to confirm their suspicions by asking someone for the truth. Auteuil and Scott Thomas can play this kind of repressed bitterness in their sleep, saying volumes with the tiniest flicker of their eyes. This adds a remarkable depth to the film's layered plotting, partly because it's clear that even they don't understand why they're reacting the way they do.
Continue reading: Before The Winter Chill Review
In rural pre-War France, Pascal is a widower (Auteuil) with six daughters. The oldest is 18-year-old Patricia (Berges-Frisbey), who's starting to notice boys.
She's reluctant about a plan to fix her up with Pascal's employee Felipe (Merad), and instead flirts shamelessly with Jacques (Duvauchelle), a dashing pilot who literally sweeps her off her feet. But her secret courtship with Jacques doesn't go as planned. Then war breaks out and both men are called to battle, leaving Patricia pregnant. And Jacques' parents (Azema and Darroussin) don't want to know.
Continue reading: The Well-digger's Daughter Review
Manon carries with her the knowledge that Ugolin and Papet indirectly killed her father by sealing off his spring, so when she discovers the mountainous source of the spring -- and the water for the nearby town -- she returns the favor in kind. Alas, poor Ugolin finds himself falling in love with the wispy wanderer, leaving him dying both from thirst and a broken heart.
Continue reading: Manon Of The Spring Review
Although Francis Veber's "The Closet" is billed as a comedy, it's not clear at first what sense of humor it might have. The prolific French director has been known to make screwball comedies ("Le jouet"), social commentary comedies ("La cage aux folles") and even cruel, dark comedies ("Le diner des cons," aka "The Dinner Game").
Since "The Closet" is about a miserably-divorced, middle-aged, middle-management sad sack (Daniel Auteuil), all the early indicators pointed to it being one of those melancholy, sad-clown French comedies that have a tendency to become quickly tiresome.
Auteuil wakes up the morning after learning he's about to be fired and stares dejectedly out his large kitchen window like nothing more could go wrong in his life.
Continue reading: The Closet (Le Placard) Review
Reuniting with filmmaker Philippe Claudel (I've Loved You So Long), Kristin Scott Thomas delivers yet...
For his directing debut, actor Auteuil remakes Marcel Pagnol's 1940 classic into a twisty, involving...