Cast includes: Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient), Sergi López (Dirty Pretty Things), Yvan Attal (The Interpreter)
Director: Catherine Corsini (Replay)
Genre: Drama/Romance (2009) French with subtitles
In brief: It’s the sound of gunfire in the first scene that repeats in our minds as the story unfolds. When we go back six months, we find Samuel driving a very hard bargain for some construction work at the house. His wife, Suzanne, has decided that being a fulltime housewife isn’t fulfilling enough. She wants to set up a physiotherapy practice in a converted backyard building. When Ivan arrives to start the project, we learn that he’s working alone because the contractor can’t afford a second man on the job… given the low price Samuel has negotiated. Suzanne and Ivan strike up a relatively pleasant relationship. When Ivan is injured in an accident that’s Suzanne’s fault, Suzanne feels obligated to drive Ivan back to Spain for a weekend visit with his young daughter, whom he hasn’t seen in a year.
On the drive, Suzanne learns a bit more about Ivan… some of it isn’t very positive. But when they meet for dinner and he sings “Seventh Heaven” for her, she sees him in a different light. When he kisses her goodnight, Suzanne realizes she has let down her guard with Ivan too much and attempts to reverse course. But nothing is the same after that kiss. She soon realizes that she’s fallen in love… and it doesn’t feel anything like how she feels about Samuel. Her passion when she’s with Ivan is so strong that she knows, without a doubt, she has to leave her husband. Even though she’s confessed her love for Ivan, Samuel will do anything necessary to keep her. “You’re my wife. I won’t let you leave!” Samuel is not used to losing anything. But nothing is going to prevent Suzanne from leaving.
This passionate and powerful film takes us on an emotional rollercoaster. Just how far will Samuel go to keep Suzanne? What is Suzanne willing to give up in order to leave? Passion and pride are a combustible combination. At every turn, the stakes become higher. We don’t have a good feeling about where this can go. But it’s a compelling story, very well done. Anyone who has ever been pressured to do something against his/her will by a more powerful adversary should be able to relate to this film. While the specifics may not be universal, the frustration is. This isn’t a high-energy film, yet the emotional intensity is intensely moving.
4 popped kernels
Well-done, emotionally compelling story that may stay with you for days