Running Time: 105 mins
Rated: Rated MA 15+.
This is the archetypal French drama, an intense portrait of adult characters, an absorbing case study of relationships, a cool, clear yet impassioned dissecting of emotions and emotional turmoil, directed by one of France's best directors for this kind of film with top performances. (I liked it.)
It begins with a mistake, a disturbed middle-aged woman goes into the wrong office to meet a psychiatrist to discuss her problems. The lawyer who listens to her finds he cannot reveal the mistake and continues the visits. He does, however, confide in the actual psychiatrist and gets his advice. The doctor-client relationship is on-and-off, depending on the moods of the woman. But, it is clear that the sessions are doing her good, especially in her relationship with her husband. The sessions are also doing the lawyer a great deal of good, helping him to come out of himself, reassessing the relationship he has ended with a woman (in whom he can also confide), ultimately precipitating life-directional decisions for them both.
Sandrine Bonnaire has built up a solid reputation over the last twenty years as an actress of sensitivity and skill. She makes the woman in crisis and her erratic behaviour quite credible. Fabrice Lucchini has excelled in period dramas, as the ultimate villain in Colonel Chabert and Le Bossu, so it is interesting to see him handle a contemporary role that has great emotional complexities.
A satisfying cinema experience.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.