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You soon find out it’s because this woman is experiencing an identity crisis. As her true identity slowly unravels in this movie, it's unraveled in a bizarre way. Both her surroundings and the people in it morph before her eyes (with well-done special effects). It's as if she's entered some alternate universe designed to reveal memories she's repressing, but without knowing those memories, they don't make sense.
When it's finally revealed at the end, it may or may not be clear to some people since it’s not totally spelled out. Some might find this annoying, but I found it delightful because enough is revealed to help me understand her story…while still leaving a tiny bit of mystery to keep me guessing.
Here's the scoop. Sophie Marceau is an author of biographies and wants to get into writing fiction. Her first book isn't working. It's based on her life but contains only dry details. She can't find the life in it. Now she's beginning to unravel. Things around her aren't looking the same. Her face and body seem to be changing. Her husband doesn't seem to be her husband. Is she going nuts? Clues send her from France to Italy where it begins to come together.
As any number of writers and directors bust their humps to find ways to scare people, this came as a huge surprise. This is far and away the creepiest movie I've ever seen. And there are no jump scares or gore effects. Just a great sense of things not being right. What's happening to her? Is she going nuts? Is she being gas-lighted? Somehow I felt all this was happening to me because it was all so "every day" in its setting. No creepy house or external, malevolent force. Just a person starting to unwind. There is a transformation scene that has got to be one of the most unsettling scenes ever filmed.
Sophie Marceau handles the first half of the film. Monica Bellucci handles the second half. Both do a terrific job. The first half is the set up and, as much as it made my skin crawl, it kept me wondering where this was all going. Then in the second half, when it starts to come together, it's still really creeped me out.
At just over 2 hours this might be a bit long and slow for some viewers but it didn't bother me in the least. And maybe not everything added up at the end but it satisfied me. All I can say is if you like your creep dial turned to eleven, this might be the outing for you.
The story follows a young married mother as she fails at getting her novel published, who then decides to search her missing/amnesia-ridden childhood background to learn about herself. What starts as Sophie's beautiful persona devolves into a different woman entirely, eventually morphing into Monica Bellucci's ageless self. The special effects used for this process create quite a disturbing visual feast of what I hope is never attempted again: taking these two and making them virtually unrecognizable through various scenes. To further describe the plot as it continues (in multiple languages) with intricate emotional scenes and twists would do a disservice.
The production had a high value look to it, with only one or two significant flaws in effects. The acting is well performed and believable and I enjoyed the twists thrown at you as truths are uncovered. Some of the scenes are long and give both actresses a chance to utilize their minimalist skills, but the pacing eventually pays off. Not everything is explained openly, so the critiques of being unfulfilled in certain outlets are understandable, but this is worthy of a watch.
The video clarity is solid as is the 5.1 sound. No special features were included, which made me ding this a star because this DVD needed it; between the amount of effects, filming locations, need for a commentary, etc. Enjoy.
It's almost 2 hours long, but it kept me interested the whole time. There was not a single moment when I thought: "Is this ever going to end?" or "This has been done before". The movie develops slowly but there aren't any dry moments or moments that don't add anything to the plot. I think the plot was quite clever without being pretentious. Two different women who may or may not be the same person and who are determined to find out the truth about their real identity. Of course, don't expect a life-changing movie that raises questions or features existentialist messages.
If you have watched Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Unknown Woman" or François Ozon's "Swimming Pool" and liked them, you will definitely like this one as well. It's a whole different plot, but developed in the same way.
Besides, it was refreshing to see a movie where the two leading actresses, while being considered two of the most beautiful women in cinema, played a serious role and there was no need to show them half naked or in unneccesary soft porn scenes, as it seems to be the trend lately in movies.
The movie takes place in Paris and Lecce without making the movie an excuse to show french or italian clichés or picture-perfect scenes. It was also refreshing to see a movie set in Lecce, since a lot of film makers seem to think that Rome, Venice, Tuscany and Sicily are the only places in Italy where a movie should be set.
I am giving this movie 5 stars for being clever, unpretentious and because it focuses on telling a story rather than showing skin and expensive cinematography.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a crazy movie, and you will think you are going there too. Fantastic performances by both women. Don't want to give any of the plot away. Read morePublished 11 days ago by VolksJon
The two most beautiful and talented actors in Europe in an intriguing psychological puzzle. Highly recommend this film.Published 5 months ago by Deb Bensaul
Real hard to follow and never gets easier or better. Love Sophie Marceau but she never shines her natural beilliance herePublished 6 months ago by Louis462
Great flick starring two beautiful actresses. Exciting plot with several twists. If it had been dubbed in English, it would have more enjoyable.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Awesome movie! Looking for something different and involved? Look no further.Published 17 months ago by Thomas Fuller Jr.
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