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Therese and Isabelle
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Reviews & Ratings for
Therese and Isabelle More at IMDbPro »

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32 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Not for Howard Stern fans

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
5 May 2005

It's kind of interesting reading some of the negative raps on this movie. Yes, it is in black and white--so is "Citizen Kane" and any number of other classic movies. The girls are a little long in the tooth to be schoolgirls and the nude scenes are pretty tame (but there certainly are some in the unedited version). However, considering that hot lesbian action between actual schoolgirls is a no-no even today in most countries, it's not surprising they didn't try to pull it off in 1968. Besides, it was necessary that at least one of the actresses be older as she had to play the same character as both a schoolgirl and a middle-aged woman.

I'm sure this movie is not exactly like the book (few movies are), but I was impressed at how it managed to combine memorable passages from the book with discreet and tasteful visuals to create some truly startling scenes. (And this is no mean feat--witness Adrian Lyne's ham-handed attempts at this in his recent adaptation of the literary classic "Lolita").This movie also deals with a lot of themes that were pretty taboo at the time--pre-marital sex, lesbianism, female masturbation--in a tasteful, non-exploitative way, which many people probably won't appreciate today living in the age of Howard Stern. This movie certainly inspired a lot of later movies-- "Don't Deliver Us from Evil", "Heavenly Creatures", and the more recent "Lost and Delirious". It's less melodramatic than any of these--nobody commits suicide or is brutally murdered-- but then again most real-life adolescent lesbian relationships don't end in murder or suicide. If you're a Howard Stern fan you probably will be bored with this, but if you don't object to subtle, classy European art films this is pretty alright.

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

This was a milestone for erotic films…

7/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
12 October 2008

It was a serious attempt to show the developing sexuality of two schoolgirls and did not try to exploit its fact… Even by today's standards, the film is interesting and provocative…

Therese and Isabelle are both attending the same girl's school… Therese is energetic, intelligent, and becomes a mentor for the innocent, naive, sweet Isabelle… She guides her through a number of exotic experiences, including a trip through an exclusive brothel, into her first lesbian liaison, and indirectly into her first heterosexual experience…

The film does not exploit any sex, nor is there an abundance of nudity... The imagery is effective, but sometimes the camera lingers too long, and the story goes slowly…

The director, Radley Metzger, went on to make a number of explicit erotic films under the name of Henry Paris… He always has extremely detailed stories, good acting, and very high standards of cinematography...

Artistically, however, this is perhaps his most complete… His later attempts supplied for entertainment, whereas "Therese and Isabelle" was a study into the nature of youthful eroticism...

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Get a Life!!!!

10/10
Author: noirmoon from United States
21 April 2006

This is a film.., not porn.

This is a wonderful film!!! Full of tender moments and memories!! A beautiful piece of work!!! Excellent!!! For intelligent, viewers only!!!

If you are a film lover. A romantic. A person who has loved deeply, this is your film!!!!

It has a beautiful surreal quality. Fine acting and directing. Watching this film made me remember my first love.

Thi is a film for those who want to reflect on life, love and the meaning of loss.

Highly recommended for all film lovers.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Totally Worth It...Even If You Aren't a Lesbian

8/10
Author: alarmanwp from United States
29 October 2009

I must admit, when I read the description of the genre on Netflix as "Steamy Romance" I was a little bit skeptical. "Steamy"? In a movie from 1968?? I was prepared for disappointment. And when I realized it was shot entirely in black & white, I knew my erotic hopes were dashed.

Boy, was I wrong! Not only does this film have all of the elements of a steamy romance -- the discovery of first love, fear of the secret being found out, a sudden unexpected end -- but at times this movie was downright erotic. You will soon forget that it is shot in black & white. The cinematography deserves every accolade it has received over the years. And the performances from the two stars (Essy Persson and Anna Gael) are intense and memorable. OK, so they're both in their mid twenties trying to play school girls. It's 1968. Do you really expect teenagers from the '60s to be able to effectively explore a lesbian love story like this? Many adult women were still trying to come to grips with their sexuality back then. Anyone looking for real teens here is expecting too much.

I think this movie was way ahead of its time. The level of eroticism was an unexpected pleasure; yet it still managed to leave a lot to the imagination, opting instead to give us poetic descriptions to add to what we were shown.

I have no doubt lesbians will identify with the characters here. As for you straight guys who love watching lesbians in action: Although it won't be all you expect, I don't think you'll be too, too disappointed.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good Lesbian-themed cinema

8/10
Author: devilsporkchop from United States
6 February 2011

This is a very good movie. Good example of a European film of it's time. Black and White? Yes, and for the dolts that can't seem to get through a movie without color, go back to cartoons.

Yes, the actresses do seem a bit long in the tooth, but the story is well paced, the cinematography very good, and all in all a pleasant movie.

If you're a lesbian, you'll appreciate this movie. If you're a straight man looking for a hot movie... go elsewhere and look for some porn; this ain't it.

If you're a movie lover and looking for a good representation of cinema with a lesbian theme, this is a good example. It's also a good example of European cinema in the late 60's even though the moviemaker is an American.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Erotic schoolgirl story told in a deliciously innocent and sexy way

8/10
Author: Lin Tomas from Bangalore, India
2 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

************* spoiler alert *************** I am so glad I got to see this wonderful movie.Is there anything more romantics than this line from the movie said in monologue, "We hugged to our hearts all the Thereses and Isabelles who would make love to one another later with other names" I wish the producers would re-release this movie in colour to capture the beauty of the school grounds and the actresses.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when the camera is panning away from the couple inside the chapel with the monologue lending images through words. I have written down, word for word, the scene inside chapel. Isabelle is waiting for Therese inside the school chapel Isabelle: I missed the train Therese: I missed you Isabelle: I missed you too! Therese: Come closer, you're too far away. Let me do it. Isabelle: If we get caught? Someone may come in. Therese:I don't care

Therese pulls her down to the floor and then we don't see the couple, just hear Therese in monologue:

I tore her uniform and crushed her beneath, Blood rose in to my cheeks, in to my throat, Her hand was making it difficult for me to breathe, I was sobbing without a sound, without tears, Isabelle was sobbing too. She pressed her hand against my uniform, I dug her neck into my teeth,.............. NO typo- that's what she said :) Her lips tried to find mine, in my hair, in my neck, in the folds of my uniform, I pushed her against the floor, I nailed her hands against it with the palms of mine, I hugged her with all the strength with my repentance, I breathed her in. I held her tight against my belly, and made loin cloth of myself. She was melting my ankles and knees into delicious decay, I burst forth warmth like a fruit, I was filling with the same liquid sweetness, while pins were softly tearing against me, oh so softly. I was following everything in sight, could see with my inner eyes the light in her flesh. In my head I had a Therese, with open legs straining up to the sky, who was receiving all that I was giving. We hugged to our hearts all the Thereses and Isabelles, who would make love to one another later with other names. We rode entwined down a slope of shadows, we held our breath so that life and death should come to a halt. I stormed her mouth as one storms a blithe city, I was hoping to plunder and destroy both her entrails and my own. Isabelle cried in panic. I persevered. Isabelle called for help. Isabelle: I can feeling it climbing my legs, its coming. Therese: Tell me Isabelle: I love you Therese: again Isabelle: I love you Therese: again Isabelle: I love you

So the girls are making out inside, meanwhile outside the chapel, a school teacher/counselor is showing parents around the school and says, " this used to be the chapel, our girls make use of it for dramatics" Hilarious! I also noticed catholic guilt in this scene, where Therese talks about crucifixion with "I nailed her hands against it with palms of mine" after all they were making out on the floor of the chapel!! I think the character of Therese is very bold for exploring masturbation, especially after her first sex encounter, which may have helped her in her self awareness. She seemed more accepting of herself, her situation with her mother and step father and Isabelle. Its very arousing to see it someone finger herself under the sheets, the beauty of the scene is it was portrayed without showing any skin unlike La Vie d'Adèle (blue is the warmest colour). This movie was written and made way ahead of its time. I wish more people would watch it!

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5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

nothing like the book

4/10
Author: 2001cal from berkeley, ca
21 October 2001

the author of the book, by the same title, should not have let her name be used for this movie. if you have read the book, this movie takes such a liberal interpretation of the actual events in the book and its spirit that the movie and book seem to have quite little in common except the title and some superficial details. the movie adds nothing, in terms of artistic merit, to the book's own literary achievement.

for those who have not read the book: you will also be disappointed. not only does the plot move at an incredibly slow pace, it doesn't offer anything more while it is moving slowly (like character development, for example). some viewers might be entertained by some of the graphic lesbian love scenes later on in the movie, but you might as well watch a showtime special for the stuff they show in therese and isabelle--its fairly tame and not imaginative at all.

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10 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Very disappointing - don't bother

Author: Curtis Mark Stratmeyer (curtstrat@msn.com) from Bellevue, Washington
10 June 2001

You hope for a good film, you get promised a good film, you pay good money for a film, you view film and... oh jeez, its a load of crap!

Disappointment #1: Its black and white. My fault. Read those labels!

Disappointment #2: The "girls" are clearly in their late twenties. Now I really have to work hard to believe this story, but wait...

Disappointment #3: There is no story! I won't spend much effort describing how thin the plot (and I use the term loosely) is. There is no drama. I expected to see them meet, do things together, friendship deepen, etc. It doesn't happen.

Disappointment #4: Practically no nudity. If you're not going to provide any cinematic value, at least let me see some pretty, nude women! Why do you think people would buy this film anyway? For the record, the women are beautiful, and you do see them naked from the waist up for a few seconds. Not enough to even make it to the "tease" level. Stories can be very erotic without explicit graphics if told with style, but such finesse is beyond the range of this director.

Summary: A complete disappointment on every level.

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