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Suzanne and Ivan are irresistibly drawn together by an erotic passion that threatens to destroy her marriage, her family and everything she holds dear. Her husband will stop at nothing to destroy her first. In this thrilling romance, everyone pays a price for happiness.
Top Customer Reviews
The plot is basic: woman in a dull marriage falls for a builder, has an affair, confesses to her husband, can't let go of her desire to continue the affair... The point is not the plot but the very human behaviors, reactions, and pain that is consequential to the act. No one escapes unscathed. The movie is like a Dutch painting - everything is finely observed, on a small scale, and intensely human.
There's no point in judging the behavior of the various characters - this isn't a medieval morality play. It's a study of an accidental explosion that occurs in the lives of perfectly normal people living mundane lives. What matters is how accurate, how honest, and how involving the study manages to be. And this study manages to be extremely good indeed. We can watch, knowing that it's all going to end badly yet appreciating the transient pleasure experienced by the lovers even as they destroy those around them. Watching, we can know that thoughtlessness leads too often to low-quality outcomes yet we enjoy the sureness of touch exhibited by the cast and director. We can know that temporary infatuation is no real basis for an adult relationship, yet we can remember our own jeunesse d'esprit from all those years ago - before we discovered that actions inevitably have consequences.
It's sad to watch a grown woman behave in a way guaranteed to lead to ruin, but at the same time it is a fascinating and engrossing spectable.Read more ›
None of this is treated lightly by the film. Both Suzanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Ivan are seen fighting their feelings throughout the film's first act. The obvious attraction, as well as the conflict these two middle-aged adults have about these feelings, is written all over their faces. The chemistry between the two characters is not just erotic ... it's clear that these people share a deep affection for one another. When the two finally consummate their relationship, it's not an act of animal passion, but of tenderness.
Ivan, although romantic, is too much of a realist to expect Suzanne to leave her rich husband and children for him. So it's Suzanne who takes the initiative. In a shocking moment of clarity, she confesses to her husband that she's fallen in love and plans to leave.
Strangely, despite being a story that begins with infidelity, Samuel is the character who emerges as the true monster in the film. Instead of displaying sadness and grief over the loss of his wife, he reacts more like a toddler when you've taken away his favorite toy. At first he throws temper tantrums, becoming violent and verbally abusive, "forbidding" her to leave. In these scenes, it's more clear than ever why, despite the financial security, Suzanne would want to leave this man ... he really sees her as nothing more than another possession and status symbol.Read more ›
It's set in France and Spain so it's visually delicious. The supporting cast is mixed; Yvan Atta makes a wonderful bad guy. Sergi Lopez, who plays the man she falls in love with, didn't really win me over with his charms. He is physically large, as opposed to Atta and from the many sex scenes we get the message over and over that he's a much more energetic lover than her husband. But other than that, I didn't see anything to motivate her to go the extremes that she did for him. And, back to KST--she is basically too sane and balanced a human being to play crazy and she had to be crazy to do what she did. If the story had given us a sense of some tragic crack in her psyche that would make her later actions credible, it would have been a better film. She was a physiotherapist, a healer, who, presumably would have more sense than to self-destruct the way she did. Likewise with her husband. He was shown to be a snob in the beginning but we don't see the great nastiness that he shows later.
I saw this film the same day that I saw "Mademoiselle Chambon" another French film with a similar theme. An upper-middle class, educated woman falls in love with another hunky construction worker. In that case it's the man who is married with a family, but the dilemma is the same. "Mademoiselle Chambon" is a much better made film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this because of Kristen Scott Thomas. I so loved her in 'The English Patient'. When began to watch I was disappointed that there was no English version (only subtitles). Read morePublished on April 25, 2013 by W. Cooper
Kristin Scott Thomas is the upper class wife and mother full of bourgeois misery as she walks from her marital bed in suburbia in a flashforward,then a shot is heard. Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by technoguy
I did not like it. She was a mess, I just did not like how desperate she was in the relationship with her lover... Read morePublished on October 23, 2012 by Maddie G
Loved her acting-superb! But her character was missing a few rings in the evolutionary cycle of maturity on many levels. Read morePublished on August 20, 2012 by J. Riley
Love movies where people can't get enough of each other sexually---I want to find me some of that! This is an exciting love story, one not to be missed.Published on June 27, 2012 by Timothy McGivney
ookay, this is a wonderful intense, raw and talented performance by KST. BUT the story itself and the representation of particular characters talks some MIGHTY shizz. Read morePublished on February 5, 2012 by Cleo
It's a pity because this film is quite visually pleasant and well crafted, but the plot and particularly the characters, are a bit two-dimensional and unbelievable... Read morePublished on June 10, 2011 by Eduardo Neecha
THIS IS A WONDERFUL MOVIE, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS HAS TO BE THE BEST ACTRESS ON THE PLANAT, SHE CAN PLAY ANY ROLE TO PERFECTION.Published on March 15, 2011 by A. Cullen
I LIKE THIS KIND OF DRAMA...IT IS SLOW AND METHODICAL (DETAILED) AND IT SEEMS REAL (TEXTBOOK); THE CHARACTERS ARE BELIEVABLE AND FULLY DEVELOPED SO THAT YOU KNOW HOW THEY FEEL EVEN... Read morePublished on February 27, 2011 by Margaret Opine