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In London, Belgian immigrant Carol Ledoux shares an apartment with her older sister Helen, and works as a manicurist at a beauty salon. Helen uses the word "sensitive" to describe Carol's overall demeanor, which is almost like she walks around in a daze, rarely speaking up about anything. When she does speak up, it generally is about something against one of those few issues on which she obsesses, such as Helen's boyfriend Michael's invasion of her space at the apartment. That specific issue may be more about men in general than just Michael's actions, as witnessed by Carol being agitated by hearing Helen and Michael's lovemaking, and she not being able to rebuff the advances effectively of a male suitor, Colin, who is infatuated with her. One of those other obsessive issues is noticing cracks and always wanting to fix them. While Helen and Michael leave on a vacation to Pisa, Italy, Carol chooses largely to lock herself in the apartment, ditching work. There, she is almost hypnotized... Written by
Disturbing, harrowing tale of one girls' (Catherine Deneuve) descent into madness.
Catherine Deneuve's performance is fantastic--she plays it just right. Quite an accomplishment considering she was only 22 at the time! Roman Polanski's direction, beautiful black and white photography and effective use of sound really helps the film. Ahead of it's time.
Some people have complained about being bored by this film...I'm assuming they're watching in on TV. It's true--the film doesn't play as well on TV. I was lucky enough to see it for the first time in a theatre and it scared me silly. On a big screen you're pulled into the girls' madness--I was jumpy for days afterwards.
On TV it just doesn't work. It's still good, but nowhere near as unsettling. So, if you're going to see it, try to see it on a big-screen TV. This film almost never plays at revival cinemas--a real shame. Probably Polanski's best film next to "Chinatown".
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