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Intimate Strangers (2004)

Sandrine Bonnaire , Fabrice Luchini , Patrice Leconte  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sandrine Bonnaire, Fabrice Luchini, Michel Duchaussoy, Anne Brochet, Gilbert Melki
  • Directors: Patrice Leconte
  • Writers: Patrice Leconte, Jérôme Tonnerre
  • Producers: Alain Sarde, Christine Gozlan
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00068S3QY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,901 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Intimate Strangers" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

William Faber became a tax accountant like his father and resolved himself to a life where nothing much ever changed. At least until the beautiful Anna walked in one day and mistook his office for the therapist's down the hall. Unsolicited, Anna begins to reveal intimate details of her life which include how she is seeking security by attempting to save her tumultuous marriage. William and Anna find a bond developing between them, one that only true strangers can have, even after she finds out who he really is...or is not! Masterfully directed by French film legen Patrice Leconte ("Man on the Train," "Girl on the Bridge," "The Widow of St. Pierre"), "Intimate Strangers" takes you on a journey into the depths of human relationships and shows just how intimate strangers can be.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Listening is a lost art in our times." February 26, 2005
Anna, (Sandrine Bonnaire), opens the wrong door and ends up in the office of tax attorney William Faber, (Fabrice Luchini), instead of next door for her first appointment with Dr. Monnier, a psychiatrist. Before the bemused Farber can straighten things out, Anna begins to unburden herself candidly, as if she's been on the couch for years. "I have an urgent problem," says she. Then, confessing that her marriage is on the rocks, her husband unemployed and impotent - he hasn't touched her in six months - she begins to cry. William is stunned, moved by her tears, but before he can respond she is out the door. Fast exit, no payment. Everyone knows that the fee is part of therapy.

Faber's life is bland. He lives in the flat where he was born, never having moved or really traveled. He inherited his father's business and many of the old clients. Used to an orderly existence, he lives alone and usually takes dinner by himself, with a glass of wine, while listening to music. Occasionally, through the window, he catches glimpses of couples, other lives. Jeanne, his last and perhaps only love, (Anne Brochet of the wonderful smile), left him for another man but they get together occasionally and maintain a close friendship. He is decidedly intrigued by Anna's visit but does not expect a repeat performance.

He is fascinated after visit number 2, when he finally manages to blurt out, "I'm not a doctor." Anna responds quickly, that she knows many therapists are not doctors and that's fine by her. Again, she leaves quickly. William is the one to visit Dr. Monnier, the shrink, (Michel Duchaussoy), who tells him that this situation is about his own problems and not Anna's.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
`Attraction and avoidance' is a common enough theme in romantic movies. What's unique in Intimate Strangers is the setting and therefore the intricate dance that it creates.

Man and woman are brought face to face by a farcical error. On her first visit to her psychiatrist, Anna's distracted thoughts take her unwittingly to the office of a tax consultant. The general discrete atmosphere seems fitting enough, and she reveals to William, uncensored, the intimate details of her married life. Shy, hurt and lonely from his previous relationship-failure he is glad for the company of this beautiful and appealing woman. He plays along with her mistake long enough to evidence to us his interest and all-too-human need hovering behind his life of professional competency. This creates the basis for a relationship that will sustain its verbal tango long after we expect its consummation.

What is the fascination here? Well, if our hormones aren't pounding too loudly, we may have asked ourselves what indeed we are seeking in relationship besides the immediate gratifications of sex and romantic infatuation. How can there be enough distance in a relationship of attraction to leave room for a sustained dialogue of depth? (And if dialogue is all we're after, what is the place of attraction in all of this?)

How do men surrender their positions of authority (whether psychiatrist or tax advisor) to reveal themselves? What does it mean when a woman lies down for a man? Is she (whether in the role of lover or patient) passively receiving, or, is it really the way women give care, creating a comforting space for their rigid men to feel relaxed enough to unburden themselves?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In The Spider's Lair October 17, 2004
Anna (Sandrine Bonnaire) enters an old office building, goes up to the sixth floor and rings the buzzer to be lead into the office of William (Fabrice Luchini), a Tax advisor. Anna talks pretty much non-stop about her marriage, her brutish husband, and her lack of sex life. Then stops, gets up and leaves: having embarrassed herself by her ramblings. There is a problem though: Anna thinks that William is her new therapist and William, seemingly so fascinated with Anna that he says nothing to the contrary even going so far as to schedule another appointment for the following week.

Director Patrice Leconte has plowed this territory before especially in his "Man on the Train" and the ruse succeeds for as long as it needs to as William comes clean to Anna early on in the film. Nonetheless, Anna continues to spill her guts to William and a sort of friendship develops between the two.

Most of "Intimate Strangers" takes place in William's stuffy conservative office and Anna is dressed in layers of dark colored heavy clothing. But as she blossoms from the benefits of her "analysis," her makeup, hair, clothing becomes lighter and more revealing: obvious but effective. William also changes and there is one odd though funny scene of him dancing solo a la Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" to Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" that has to be seen to be believed.

"Intimate Strangers" is a strange little movie that expects a lot from its viewers but just manages to stay on our good side by treating us like we have some intelligence and taste. Though it teeters on the edge of facetiousness, it doesn't ever make the leap over.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S A GREAT STORY
I originally saw it the theatre and loved it, then bought it on dvd when it came out. A friend misplaced the dvd, hence my purchase of the VHS. Read more
Published 7 months ago by RICHARD GIVENS
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Romance
Sandra Bonnaire superbly plays Anna, who is in a loveless marriage and accidently meets a quiet introverted tax lawyer, who also is separated from his unfaithful wife. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Lindsay George
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the full version
I love that movie and have seen it in Europe some years ago and always wanted it on DVD to share with friends. Bought it now but was disappointed to see that this is a cut version. Read more
Published on June 9, 2012 by Schnups
4.0 out of 5 stars Private conversations
I absolutely loved this casual French movie about a Parisian woman experiencing marital strain. She decides to seek a professional help and accidentaly discloses her personal... Read more
Published on January 31, 2012 by Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars A few twists, but not enough
The male lead here is pretty much expressionless throughout, and I grew weary. There's a dark undercurrent of violence that never explodes and leaves you awaiting something much... Read more
Published on December 30, 2010 by Brad Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Intimate Strangers
An attractive woman walks into an office she believes to be that of a psychiatrist and proceeds to reveal her innermost secrets to a baffled tax lawyer. Read more
Published on August 5, 2008 by Chris Hilton
3.0 out of 5 stars Playful,erotic?...ehh?...not quite enough!
The idea is interesting: a woman walks into a tax accountant's office and mistakes him for a therapist...or does she? Read more
Published on April 20, 2008 by KerrLines
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting subject gets a not so interesting treatment...
Intimate Strangers has some very good moments which compel you to watch more - particularly as the main character wrestles with the mystery of his strange guest.. Read more
Published on January 17, 2008 by Stalwart Kreinblaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate Strangers
An ingenious French treat with psychological underpinnings, director Leconte's "Intimate Strangers" is a meditation on the randomness of life and fate. Read more
Published on July 20, 2007 by John Farr
3.0 out of 5 stars Knocking on the wrong door
I bought this movie because I was intrigued by the storyline and I wanted to watch Anne Brochet. I was slightly disappointed by the movie, but Brochet did a very fine job(I only... Read more
Published on February 12, 2007 by MonsieurRichard
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